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Every Man Needs A Shed

Life and games (but mostly games) from Tony Boydell: Independent UK games designer, self-confessed Agricola-holic and Carl Chudyk fan-boy. www.surprisedstaregames.co.uk What was that beardy bloke going on about?

Archive for Tony Boydell

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I've Got No Mind To Worry

Anthony Boydell
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Newent. Glos
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Ah, wouldn't it be nice to get stuck in to Nations
So I sent a message out
(invited both The Batesons).
They came around lunchtime, I made 'em some tea.
And then we was playing: a civilised three - ah

Lazy Sunday afternoon
I've got no mind to worry
I take my turns and drift away-a




Here we all are sittin' in the kitchen
"Hello Arthur, lad; do you want to pitch in?" ("Let's play JamSumo")
We're flickin' our dice at the hole in the board
The dog tries to eat 'em if they go on the floor - oh yeah!

Lazy Sunday afternoon
We've got no mind to worry
We take our turns and drift away-a




Some wood and stone and reed; a plow and Occupations.
Grain and Veg and Sheep; fam'ly fed and renovations.
There's nothing to touch it, Agricola's ace
Even young Arthur had taken his place - yeah!

Lazy Sunday afternoon
We've got no mind to worry
We build our Farms and drift away-a










Lazy Sunday afternoon
The Time ain't slow or draggin'
Take our turns in Kraft - a
Take out turns in Kraft - a
Take our turns in Kraftwagen...

We've got no mind to worry
We take our turns and drift away-a






(and then Mrs B came home and we repaired to the newly-mown garden for Molkky and G&Ts)
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Mon May 29, 2017 6:50 am
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Starving Le Havre

Anthony Boydell
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It's Friday evening and I am standing in front of the shelves trying to decide what to take to Ross-on-Wye; I scan from top-to-bottom, left-to-right:
- too long for an evening session
- Jobbers/Boffo/Smudge hates it
- I hate it (so why is it still there?)
- Too valuable to actually play
- Haven't read the rules so the first hour would be a heckle-some ordeal
- "Just don't fancy it"

I only want to take one thing down - Yokohama is already in the back of the car - and I just can't seem to make up my mind. And then I see the spine of Le Havre...

Le Havre has been / is about to be reprinted with all of the extra goodies (which is a bit of a shame for those of us who tirelessly hunted-and-gathered them the first time around) and pictures of it 'in play' have been popping up on Social Media (mainly via the excellent Heavy Cardboard stream: @HeavyCardboard). Additionally, I have been happily hammering the AI on my iOS app version for 4+ years now so it seemed almost an angelic chorus-accompanied moment as I slid it from the 'Lookout Games Line-Up' and in to my bag!



We would be six again this evening: by the bead-woven beard of St John the Baptist but it's a purple patch for the Ross-on-Wye gamers at the moment, so the thought of a 3 player Le Havre (the perfect player count) filled me with butterflies. While we waited for Mischa and James, the usual four got out our bristle-y daubers a got a-paintin':


Starving Artists: I don't know much about Art but I know what I like.


In summary: each round comprises two actions (a 'working day'), one each for the morning and one each for the afternoon: get some paint cubes from a bag, put some paint cubes on to a painting 'stencil' OR buy a stencil. Once per day you may swap cubes for other cubes from a central pool. At the end of the day, players may sell one or more completed stencils to get VPS, food (very important) and more paint cubes drafted from the pool. Each day, your food marker counts down and the game will go in to an end phase when someone 'starves' ie. runs out of food because either the cannot - or don't want to - sell a painting to get food. The game ends when a player completes X stencils OR reaches a threshold VP value OR the end of the round after someone starves; in the first cases, the person achieving the goal wins and, in the latter, most VPs is the winner.

I'm enjoying Starving Artists very much but I won again by being the first to complete X stencils and - again, like last Monday - the other players expressed concerns about how paint cubes are awarded/drafted when stencils are sold: I find myself collecting almost all the cubes I need to complete my NEXT painting off the back of the prior one, in a pleasing 'chain', but this only benefits the first picker. I must scout the forums to see if anyone else has been niggled by this. It _is_ lovely, though.

There was still no sign of Mischa and James, so Smudge suggested we play Troyes; hardly Le Havre but an acceptable alternative. I'd barely picked up my first worker to place in one of the districts when our missing additionals cheerfully bounce in to the Pub. There was some thought that we should pack away Troyes and, perhaps, offer something lighter to our guests but - in a moment of (selfish?) evangelistic fervour - I forbad that suggestion and insisted they still play Troyes (because it's great and substantial and a fantastic example of modern Euro games) while Jobbers and Smudge and I slope off to the corner to play - yes - Le Havre!



What a brilliant session it turned out to be: Jobbers and Smudge picking up end-game bonus buildings for 'spare resources' and cows respectively. I spotted I was getting a bit behind on buildings myself and hoovered up the Church, Cokery and Bank in a penultimate round splurge...the latter worth an extra 15 points on it's own! The final scores, all very close indeed, gave witness to a superbly nip-and-tuck game (all done in just over two hours): 185 (me), 172 (Jobbers) and 164 (Smudge). Now that this magnificent work is getting some reissue love, perhaps I need to sit down and design a few additional buildings myself? Perhaps with some new supply tile(s) and new Goods?

Next week I shall be Expo-ing, of course, and the week after..? Well, it seems the Prince of Wales pub is being sold and refurbished over the Summer - the last time our little group went through that particular change scenario, it didn't turn out too well. Fingers crossed, eh?
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Sun May 28, 2017 6:50 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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Have a gander at Uganda...

Anthony Boydell
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Do you remember I mentioned the awesome Ugandan board game convention organised by Beckham, the other children and with the help of the amazing Mr Ben Parkinson?

(see here: https://www.boardgamegeek.com/blogpost/65192/all-kinds-aweso...)

Well, Ben posted this short video about how it all went!


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Fri May 26, 2017 6:20 am
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Mistatyn

Anthony Boydell
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The sun was on my back all day as I clicked and Control S-ed: immersed in a detailed and fiddly spreadsheet. I trundled out of the car park a little early because what better time to make the most of the glorious weather and take a walk up the Little Orme before Wednesday night games in Prestatyn? I hadn't noticed it on the way in (to Llandudno) but, on the way back out again, the Promenade was being washed to a whiteout by a solid wall of fog coming in from the Bay, it was utterly preposterous!


Rhyl looked a bit dodge, to be honest; so I kept on driving.


Obviously, given I could hardly see 20 metres beyond the car, there was no point slogging to the Trig point so I kept on driving and walked along the eerie Prestatyn Central Beach instead:


No joggers, no dog walkers - just seagulls and salt air.


At the Beach house, already rapidly filling up for some big screen European football, a fewer-than-expected five (it shoulda bin eight) meandered about the Pool table and settled on Scythe as the lead-off; as the boards were being randomised, Jeremy's astonishingly-beautiful hand-painted minis unpacked and setup set up, we were joined by a new face - Chloe - who's seen something on Meetup.com and chanced her arm. No need to reset, though, because Jamey Stegmaier's magnum opus plays sweetly up to 7:



Playing 'the Poles', I quickly got myself three encounters and (thanks to my faction bonus) six benefits. With no early access to oil and metal, the encounters, some trading and an opportunistic raid on Mark's ill-guarded metal store proved decisive in setting up my riverwalking/submersible Mechs. I would successfully fight again later - this time to steal Food from Ed to power enlisting - and found myself romping through the stars (2 x combat, 1 x all buildings, 1 x Achievement, 1 x Max-ed Power and 1 x Enlist) for a $71 winning score (nearest score was $49). Three players managed to muscle their way to the factory (for all the good it did them!) but I had purer, simpler aims and was - thankfully - left alone on account of having a shed-load of combat cards and 16 power! I do enjoy this game very much indeed and wondered, during the Herbertian/Darabont-esque journey back along the rim of the Bay to my digs, whether I could get it to the (kitchen) table sometime over the immediately-forthcoming Bank Holiday weekend?! What with Scythe and Monday's The Colonists, I've got the makings of a Boys' All-Dayer right there...time to earn some serious Brownie Points with Mrs B, methinks.
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Thu May 25, 2017 6:45 am
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Relatively Awesome!

Anthony Boydell
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We have a first batch of 500 of these beauties arriving on Friday!
(I'll have to wait by the door to load them safely in to the Shed)

The Cousins' War by David J. Mortimer

The Cousins' War by David J. Mortimer

They will be available at the UK Games Expo (next weekend!!!) for the bargain, convention-special, price of just:

£12!!!!

(and, don't forget, you get Snowdonia and Guilds of London promos in the box for FREE)

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Wed May 24, 2017 1:49 pm
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Last Night an SdJ Saved My Life

Anthony Boydell
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Many profuse and effervescent and heartfelt congratulations to this year's nominees for the Spiel des Jahres:

Kingdom In O
The Maze one
Something from Knizia that no-one's heard of before*!

Well-deserved, I'm sure of it! Yes, indeed: marvelous stuff!

Though I've not played any of them; in fact, I don't think I've even SEEN any of them played in my company OR on any shelves in shops I have visited OR mentioned in any social media circles in which I harass frequent but I am certain that they're absolutely top-hole, ticketty-boo and stonkingly-tonking!

Now, while these shining stars in the Germanian firmament belch forth their atmosphere-stripping ion clouds** of family-friendly fun, of lightweight ludological laffs and kinfolk-komforting keine-komplexity, it's easy to overlook the other fine (FINE!) products hovering (daintily, coyly) on the Recommended list:

Pass The Bum: Shite Games have finally made the big time! PtB is a simple little pick-up-and-deliver-er where a city map layout is randomly seeded, during set up, with bums (pink-as-a-cock cubes), hobos (corpse grey cubes), tramps (piss-yellow cubes) and mendicants (vomit green cubes); each is given a 'need' indicated by their location: ethanol, 'some smokes', Donkey Porn, a cardboard box and/or "a good shoeing". Players score veeps for supplying the need with the appropriate resource(s) and wild card "Why don't you just fuck off and die?!" chits are also available. A bold choice in the list, for sure, but one that chimes with modern times.

Wooooooh: Shake the Table and Rattle the Lamps!: Hilarious Psychic-themed dexterity game - I suppose you could call it "Medium Weight" (!) - where players compete to be the first to accidentally summon Beelzebub and his Hellish Lieutenants (pronounced 'left-enants') before being covered in Ectoplasm***!

Herr Blockade und seine magischen Anus von Worten: (translation: "Mr Block's Magical Word Box") Token word game for the grandmothers; a bit like Scrabble but with suppositories.

What a wonderful time to be a gamer and no mistake!





*well, at least not with this name and art work.
**Er...probably NOT the allusion I intended...
***not to be confused with "The Big Bukkake of Madness", also from Shite Games
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Wed May 24, 2017 6:40 am
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Moore is Less

Anthony Boydell
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Ah, but Time and the inevitability of all things catches you with a swift kick to the gonads / tits (delete as applicable) for, today, we pay a fond farewell to Sir Roger Moore. Naturally, he was my James Bond - being too young to remember the days of 'The Saint' or 'The Persuaders' but, unfortunately, more than old enough to remember the shit-on-a-rope cavalcade of crap with which he blotted his copybook in the 1980s (and I'm lookin' at you, too, Michael Caine!). But enough grousing, here's a blog post from a over two years ago when - while on work duties in North Wales (like what I am this week!) - I had the sudden and wholly-grasped chance to see the great man 'in the flesh'. God rest him.



MYblankWORDblankISblankMYblankBOND


It was all looking like burger franchise / DVD catch-up as I dumped the luggage in Room 6 of the B&B (yes, the room that really puts the 'odour' in Eau de Toilette); there's still a distant trace, probably psychosomatic, but I was planning on a smellier takeaway and glutton the evening by. I browsed the Llandudno Junction Cineworld and didn't fancy anything much, apart from Gone Girl - which I can't see WITHOUT the Missus - so I nipped over to the Venue Cymru website to see if they had anything 'cultural' as part of their occasional cinema club. Nothing, nada...not a celluloid sausage, not even the latest Woody Allen! However, they did have a 'live show' tonight: An Evening with Sir Roger Moore.

Sir Roger Moore.

Just around the corner; a 20 minute walk away.

Roger...Moore.

Up (quite) close and (reasonably) personal.

It's only James Christ-ing Bond; my (in a similar manner to Doctors Who) James Bond. A proper movie star, mind.

I could heavy-sigh, shrug and tuck myself up in front of the Telly OR I had 30 minutes to get up, out and over to the Theatre and blag myself a single seat. Given that my youth was defined by Bond paperback book collecting, Bond movies on the TV and that The Spy Who Loved Me was the first non-cartoon, non-"Doug McClure" movie that I saw at the cinema , I didn't see that I had any choice! Before you could basejump off an Alp with a Union Jack parachute, I was settling myself in to a Gallery seat and Facebooking this impromptu excursion.



Sat next to me, sucking at a Coke Zero and generously radiating his own personal 'Eau de...', was a cheerful Scouse fellow going by the nickname Gary Broadway; we chatted about Mr Moore, best Bonds and other movie jabberflabber & flummery before the house lights dimmed and the Octogenarian Oh-Oh-Seven ambled on-stage in his comfortable shoes, surgical stockings and his yachting club jacket 'n troos. There followed almost three hours - with interval - of old jokes, anecdotes and lyrical waxing in those velvet-throated tones. Oddly it was the Bond stuff towards the end that was least interesting; instead both Gary and I were surprised and pleased by a 10 minute remembrance of The Man Who Haunted Himself - one of his lesser known, and more 'unusual', works:



There was much talk of Tony Curtis' obsession with large breasts, Lew Grade, early 'hunk' roles and The Saint; we even tweeted questions of our own for the second half (mine was NOT addressed) and there was a microphone-passing Q&A and some UNICEF eulogizing to finish. He was captivating if, at times, rambling company but then he is in his eighties, for Q's sake!..and he is a bona fide movie star (it bears repeating)!

I had just enough time to buy a signed copy of his latest recollections from the concession stand (before they'd sold out completely) and I drifted off in to the moonbright evening clutching it preciously to my bosom.

I should plan this kind of spontaneity a little more often.
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Tue May 23, 2017 5:05 pm
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Era Worship

Anthony Boydell
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Work yadda long drive "due West" blah weather hot and bright jabber popped in to see me Dad and brother chitter-chatter free lunch FTW rhubarb parked up overlooking Cardigan Bay to eat it:



Vroom to the top of Wales mutter usual procedure and over to the Golf Club:


A good walk, spoiled.


I had half a mind to play Yokohama again but Aaron mentioned he had The Colonists and I couldn't possibly pass up the chance of getting my first (learning) game in! We were joined by Yvonne but had to send her fiancee, Daffydd, away with a flea in his ear because we wanted to get at least a couple of eras in before the close and - therefore - three seemed to be the perfect number:


A goods worker, moiled.


I'll not go in to mechanical detail but it is a straightforward resource collection/conversion affair in the traditional manner but has a pleasingly swift turnaround between goes. We fair whistled through Eras I and II in a couple of hours and were buzzing with contented glee as we scored it at that point: only 7 points the gap! I floundered about - inefficient and wasteful with my actions - without a decent direction/plan beyond making sure
(i) I could get lots of resources, and
(ii) I had enough storage space to store them in !

I suspect, with his solid foundation of Embassies and other buildings, Aaron would've extended his lead rather drastically had we played a third Era; no matter, the three of us had barely enough time to sip our drinks because we were so hyptonized by the goings-on! There was just enough of the evening left, now that we had released Yvonne from her colonial servitude, for Daffydd the join us for Starving Artists:


A gaudy work, oiled.


In summary: buy a painting OR draw some random paint cubes OR allocate up to 4 cubes to a painting (each has a number of spaces upon which to place appropriately-coloured and collected cubes) THEN, if you want (and can) sell a finished painting at the end of the round ('Day') for VPs and food and - most important, this - extra paint cubes (ready for the next masterpiece). If you hit the target pointage / number of completed paintings before someone starves then you win; if someone starves (the player food track counts down one space each round) then everyone gets one more round and the most points wins.

Starving Artists had a Cubist (a personal fave) feel to it and, consequently, I found myself breezing off with the win. We were a little concerned, in the post match analysis, that finishing a big(-ish) first painting to dibs the majority of a central pool of paint cubes is too much of an advantage, especially as the pool seemed to shrivel and dry up as we went on; mind you, I picked up painting 'templates' that were perfect for the stock of cubes I was collecting ie. I was already 2/3rds of the way to the next one after the previous one. Pretty to look at and enjoyable to play but the Jury is still out at the moment; let's see what the contrary and stubborn discerning peeps in Ross-on-Wye have to say about this on Friday, eh?
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Tue May 23, 2017 6:35 am
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Git orf moy lahnd!

Anthony Boydell
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I can't remember if I've showed you this before, dear thing, so I'll show it to you again just in case.

Back in the mists of the noughties, Agricola was brand new and had a couple of small expansions (probably the Cz and the X decks); as a game designer, bolstered by the incalculable success of Copperwtaddle, Bloody Legacy and Scandaroon, I looked at these small-but-perfectly-formed thematic add-ons and thought:

"I can do that!"

The arrogance is astounding, isn't it? Anyway, this was pre- play-agricola.com pumping out the playtesting of what would subsequently be World Champs, Gamer and Pi decks, the Fr deck et al and also waaaaaay pre-railway-up-a-mountain stuff. I thought it would be tres amusent to put together a GB (Great Britain) deck: lots of in-jokes about Tea, Stephen Fry, Crap Tennis, Doctor Who, Rain and so on.

How I (and only I) laughed.


Sundry mimps.



Miscellaneous Occs.



O! Martin, Martin...


Of course, nowadays, it's probably more appropriate to come up with the following:



*sigh*
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Mon May 22, 2017 6:25 am
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