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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Big Yellow Taxi

Anthony Boydell
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Now, I may be reading things into it and seeing things that aren't there but watching Gary's intro to the Ragnar Brothers' latest promotional video - titled in the YouTubes as "The Romans - The last roll of the dice for the RBs" - made me feel enormously sad. Especially when he opens the overview with "...to tell you a little bit about what may be our least game..."



Perhaps most famous for the classic History of the World, many people have never realised that it's actually an autobiographical game: they have been around for THAT long - civilizations have risen-and-fallen while they got us all mania-ed about canals and moulded up those amusing 'flashing' monk-eeples in Monastery. It matters not whether your donkey is steam-powered or 'au naturelle', the 'Rags' (as no one calls them ) have been fighting the good gaming fight for almost three millennia and the thought of not having their I.K. Brunel-costumed personages cheerfully halloo-ing one across the Trade Halls fills me with melancholy.

In today's noisy, chrome-obsessed hurricane of puffery and short attention spans, the RB's brand of 80s-style chit-and-die histories-in-a-box / gentlemanly Euros have been receiving short-shrift. So, here's the deal: if you like medium-weight Euros with a classical fight-y edge, why not give them a shout and see if you can scrounge a play-test copy/a demo and give The Romans some of your time and love?

You don't know what you've got 'til it's gone...
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Fri Aug 10, 2018 6:35 am
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Contains Sheep

Anthony Boydell
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Another day, another video - eh?

Last night, the Heavy Cardboard peeps paid their own bijou tribute to the British artistic legend Mr Peter Firmin by playing a copy of my Ivor the Engine game. First introduced to the craft, beauty and wonder of Smallfilms through Nick Case's forthcoming magnificent octopus Tales of the Northlands: The Sagas of Noggin the Nog, Edward Uhler has been exposed to both of our enthusiastic remembrances and decided - in this humble way - to pay tribute himself. Of course, I would be expected to join the Peanut Gallery and be on hand to offer on-the-spot rules clarifications and/or berate their appalling Welsh pronunciation (both of which I ended up doing!) BUT - and this is the big 'but' - broadcast time was 0200HRS UK time! Two o' the clock of the morning, mes petits chiens: it was dark outside and everything!

I had fastidiously set an alarm and was roused to confusion; I was halfway to getting my trousers on before remembering that I was up for play-thru and NOT to get off to work. I slunk to the Library Room with the laptop and heavy lids for some serious trans-Atlantic heckling:



I would suggest that 'the teach' may have taken slightly-longer than the actual game itself but, then, I never said ItE was heavy - no, it's just got a lot of sentimental Mass; a surfeit of emotional density. There ain't much space between the electron shells of this nostalgia! Watch and, hopefully, enjoy; catch some of my good-natured 'chat' ribbing and raise an imaginary chapeau to Messrs Postgate and Firmin: reunited, at last, to cobble together a joyous interlude in a shed just inside (and to the right of) The Pearly Gates.
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Fri Jul 20, 2018 6:40 am
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Tidy Desk = Tidy Mind

Anthony Boydell
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Things are free-wheeling a bit in the Boydell household at the moment; two of the three boys have 'finished school' for the Summer already and are getting under Mrs B's feet. Arthur has but a couple more days before that great, long-stretching holiday gap betwixt years 5 and 6 (his last at 'Primary School' *gulp*).

For myself, bits and pieces are beginning to acrete about the Library room in awkward places because I have run out of shelf space again (again!) plus all of this Kickstarter excitement has me poring through my collection of railway books for quirky/eclectic inspiration. To be honest, as long as the carpet is kept clean I'm pretty happy in the room regardless of the detritus.



My "proper" diet continues a-pace - four months now - and I have succeeded in losing over two stones (neither of them 'gall' nor 'kidney', thank you); indeed, my new Access-All-Areas work Pass shows a tanned and jovial Tony not seen since - ooh - the late 1990s?!



Have a good one, people!

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Wed Jul 18, 2018 6:15 am
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B.O.G

Anthony Boydell
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(converted from the Facebook Live video)
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Sun May 13, 2018 11:38 pm
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Black to the Future

Anthony Boydell
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In the 21st century, its not uncommon to receive messages from long-forgotten sources via Social Media/your email client of choice; our vanity has exposed us to worldwide casual browsing. Thankfully, being an old school paranoiac, I've exposed very little of my real information on the Internets, as a recent perusal of my 'full' Facebook log revealed:

*phew*

Imagine my surprise - nay, delight - to receive a correspondal blast from the past in the form of an actual letter on real paper written with proper ink:



Obsidian is one of many, MANY UK hobby fanzines that sprouted in the 1970s and 1980s and hung their hats on Postal gaming (PBM); indeed, my good pal Mark ran his own enterprise for RPGs-by-mail for several years. We're not talking particularly high volumes, though - I think Obsidian had a couple of hundred subscribers at it's peak - and we spent our time playing Diplomacy, a cycling thing ("Breaking Away") and Railway Rivals.



About a year in to my participation, Mark and I had the idea of starting a Round Robin fiction section and managed to recruit several other regulars: the idea was for me (name pulled out of a hat) to write an introductory chapter and for the others to pick it up and run with it. We lasted ten issues and then it all fizzled out: people moved on, enthusiasm waned and - without realizing it - the fanzine stopped plopping on to my doormat every six weeks or so.

Cue this week's surprising epistle and the immediate urge to dig my 30 year old issues out of the archive (ie. the big, plastic box under my bed):




Alex has invited me to pick up where I left off - to play, that is - but, to be honest, I'm not sure I've got the time or the inclination any more; back when it was just me and Mrs B in the household, it was easy to leave a Dip board out on the dining room table and/or post negotiations to all and sundry. And it was the only game I actually got to play back then. Still, they're a friendly bunch and if you're interested in getting involved yourselves then why not send Alex an email and get signed up? Maybe you could even convince me to join you?!

alex.bokmal@googlemail.com
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Sun May 6, 2018 6:43 am
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World Cup Fever!

Anthony Boydell
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Sticker-spewers and trading card upchuckers Panini recently announced a new series of collectible cigarette cards for the forthcoming Soccer World Cup in Russia - here are a couple of samples from their Press Release.

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Mon Apr 30, 2018 6:41 am
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More Breaking News!

Anthony Boydell
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Hot off the announcement of Mayfair/Lookout/Mayout/Lookfair/whatever being acquired by Asmodee comes the announcement that - in a fit of over-exuberance and mis-filed paperwork, Asmodee has accidentally acquired itself:



The impact on the rest of the industry is, as yet, unknown...
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Sat Feb 10, 2018 11:02 am
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My Time Machine is made of Paper

Anthony Boydell
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Just before Christmas, I managed to secure a batch of ‘old gaming magazines’ from a seller on my favourite FB group. He wasn’t sure if they were worth anything and asked for reasonable offers; there were 15 or so, so I suggested £15 and the deal was duly done. The main attractions in the batch were an early Duelist and three issues of GM from the mid-90s; the latter was a briefly-lived organ for, mainly, RPGs but with occasional forays in to the tabletop world PLUS my mate Mark used to write articles for them (in fact, I believe august gaming celebrity and good egg James Wallis was also a contributor). I had a complete set – two years worth – but they ended up in a skip after a particularly-brutal spring clean.



The Duelist was purely for nostalgia and, at the time of committing to the purchase, I’d not realised it was Issue 0; this was a most pleasant surprise upon unwrapping...as was the Contents list:



This is an issue packed with innocent enthusiasm and optimism; remember that this is 1994-ish and Richard Garfield and the WotC folks have absolutely no idea about what Magic: The Gathering was about to do to the gaming world!



It's like that meme-d photo of Taylor Swift going to her Prom with an unnamed Joe or of the village that would be knocked down forever and become Heathrow Airport or the million railway books I have bowing my shelves: a moment captured before everything changed. Time travel is real; you can hold it in your hands every day.
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Tue Jan 16, 2018 9:31 am
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18ELC - Train games just got HARD!

Anthony Boydell
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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)

Anthony Boydell
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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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