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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

Archive for History of Games

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With just a single click

Anthony Boydell
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Every December, the local Auction House has a 'Toys & Games'-themed sale; while it's possible to find the odd treat in the other eleven ('Ceramics', 'Art', 'Furniture' etc), it's the pre-Christmas event that yields the juiciest morsels. To make things worse easier, the whole thing can be interacted-with online so I can click on a [Bid Now] button in the comfort of my work-at-home chair; this is, of course, both a "Good Thing"(TM) and a "Bad Thing"(TM):


To you? Sixty quid for the Lot, Sir.



How I wish I had packaged all of the Snowdonia expansion in boxes like this! (there's also, not shown, a turntable AND a girder bridge AND a twin-bladed tin helicopter with its original box)



A pack of cards with the 'Duty' seal still intact? Wow!



A closer look...



One day this shall be a reality...


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Mon Dec 10, 2018 6:15 am
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Quaecunque

Anthony Boydell
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Something for a gloomy Sunday, perhaps? Some links about games and gaming I found on the BBC website:

"Occupation survivors reminisce over board game" - https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-jersey-45397434

The UK Games Expo 2018 ('You and Yours') from 6m 30s onward - https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/b0b42qc3

Business Daily (June 2018 feat. Hasbro, a quick history of Monopoly and Reiner K!) - https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p02f8l1y (needs Flash)

Some light reading (feat. a pic of ex-Boardgameguru honcho Paul Lister) - https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-leeds-44214043

Matt Leacock & Pandemic (interview) - https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/w3csww7d

Also, apropos of yesterday's exercise in caving in, what do you think of the state of these seven cards?!

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Sun Dec 2, 2018 6:40 am
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Can you guess what I'm holding in my hand..?

Anthony Boydell
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...that's right: it's a book*. Not just ANY book, either; no, it's a new entrant in my collection of game-related tomes. In fact, several books have crossed the Boydell transom in the last few days and some are presented below.





Of particular interest, however, is this weighty little beauty from 1876:





Spurred on by a blog comment from West Walesian - and occasional Ross-on-Wye-r - Phil Dennis, I sought the World Interwebs for a copy of The Sports & Pastimes of the English People. Ebay is, simultaneously, a dear friend and a bitter enemy; the whole transaction took less than 10 seconds to complete and now I (tremblingly) hold it in my sweaty palm (still a book).

For the price of JASE, this musty and crackle-paged time machine figuratively drips with charm, earnestness and wit; for the equivalent of a couple of Terraforming Mars expansions, two thousand years of Britannic arsing-about, time-wasting and leisure pleasures have been collected in this joyful package.

















Comprehensively gorgeous, extensively lovely and utterly precious.

*of course, in my other hand is my knob.
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Thu Sep 27, 2018 6:15 am
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Tome; Toyou

Anthony Boydell
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Browsing the World Wide Internets, as I do on occasion, I happened upon a Twittering mentioning the Rt Hon General Sir Lord James Wallis - the loveliest and tallest designer in the known World - that snagged my attention glands:

"Georgian and Victorian Board Games: The Liman Collection book review: A beautiful coffee-table celebration of games from a bygone age" accompanied by the following link: https://www.tabletopgaming.co.uk/board-games/reviews/georgia...

I am, naturally, a complete-and-utter stooge for anything gaming that is old (I still rue not pushing ahead to win the original Diplomacy prototypes on eBay a few years back) and have accrued a bijou collection, particularly in book form. Reading James' review and then scouting through the fleshy, $Trillion folds of The Great Beast Online, I located a copy for the princely sum of £34 (cheaper than a base set of Terraforming Mars and only slightly more expensive than Terraforming Mars: Prelude - all 15 cards of it). Let me reveal, to you, some of the delights contained therein:












Crivens! Surely 'tis an early Fighting Fantasy?!



Inside Out: Das Brettspiel?!



That’s one Hell of a Start Player marker!



Crumbs! That's a bit grim!



Victoria was a bit of a hottie, eh?





I live near the bottom-left of the 'E' in 'GLOCESTER'



Brass: Birmingham can eff right off!









40 tiny cards used in one of the games...



...one of which tickled my fancy.



Scuffed, but beautiful.


Fancy a copy for yourself? I highly recommend it:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1938461436/ref=oh_aui_de...


Er, hang on a moment?!

...let us return, again, to 'the Giant'...



*Ouch!*


wow
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Fri Sep 7, 2018 6:10 am
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Looty McBooty

Anthony Boydell
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It's the beginning of September and that means two things:
i) the weather will get markedly worse for crossing the August 31st boundary, and
ii) thanks to (i), this will be the last Ledbury Sunday Car Boot Sale of the year.

Despite this clear and orderly script, the weather resolutely contradicted the first item's rule (probably a consequent future echo of a 'No Deal' Brexit TBH) and baked us all in a grassy field for the ninety minutes it took me to zig-zag the stalls! I was headed off at the Pass for a delightful bathroom cabinet (tulip stained glass on the frontage) by a gruff 'local' who simply thrust a fiver in to the vendors palm and fucked off! Grumbling in to my shirt pocket, I navigated the baby clothes and garden machinery, the knackered vinyl and the nests of tables with nothing to call my own apart from a sweet Gruffalo card-game anthology (there is a reason for this but I'll not say 'owt for the mo), until - Sweet Baby Jesus in a Go-Cart! - I saw this:


"Free farrah pahnd, chief!" halloo-ed the chirpy 'booter' and I sunk myself in to the tattered cardboard and cracked plastic with gusto.





Half the player pieces are missing but, then again, I didn't pay £0.33 for the actual game; no, I wanted the BOX: how magnificent is that art?! When I finally get my Museum of Board Games / Eclectica together (this is one string to my retirement violin), it's gonna look so damn good on the wall of the 'Race Games' section!

As I reached the half-way point of my stuffy, slightly-fruitful parambulation, my phone went 'Ting!': 'twas a message from young Arthur back at Boydell HQ:



Alas, there were to be no further transformative discoveries but I did spot several more curios:



Only seven months until the April re-opening - unless I'm desperate to buy some discount Farm machinery in the meantime - but there'll be plenty more opportunities for acquisition therapy over the long Autumn/Winter!

In other news, I remembered to dial in to the Newent Auction Rooms online proceedings on Friday and snaffled this pair of scuffed - but gorgeous - etchings (£20 for the two):





Makes you wonder why we bothered spending money on 'nice wallpaper', don't it?!
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Tue Sep 4, 2018 6:15 am
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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

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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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