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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Every Monk Needs a Shed

Anthony Boydell
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Friday got off to a miserable start with the news that Boffo - who is currently "on retreat" in Derby for Midcon 2017 - awoke from a rousing night of games, beer and curry to find his little car had been broken in to:



His big bag of games was half-inched: the casualties include his Keyflower-with-everything, Key Harvest and the much-beloved Glass Road. There is a whisker of a sliver of a slender chance of the thieving scum dumping the bag in a nearby hedge on account of it containing nothing but weird bits of wood and paper (and not the treasure trove of electrical consumables he might've first imagined).

For those of us remaining in the damp, leaf-strewn 'South', the day promised much by way of nothing at all ie. no dramas, crises and/or errands; the hours drifted by in a cloud of toast crumbs and coffee vapour until it was time to go and play games. I had promised - earlier in the week - to bring The Voyages of Marco Polo along for Smudge's benefit (Boffo will not stomach it to be mentioned in his company, let alone be actually played) but then forgot and brought along the ubiquitous Calimala, a newly-purchased Valletta and one of the repeatedly-played Essen releases from last weekend's party: Heaven & Ale.


A spacial puzzle combined with the need to maintain a tight Peloton of scoring markers.


In summary: each round, players take a number of actions by hopping around the rondel board: buy 'crop' tiles, buy monk tiles, initiate a scoring or claim bonus tiles (barrels). Crops and monks go on either the Sunny (cost more) or Shady (cost face value) side of your player board (garden); scoring tokens trigger the 'production' of your claimed tiles: all of one type (there are five types), all of the same number OR all monks of a type. Triggered tiles gain you money (shady side) or advancement of the appropriate resource token (and/or your 'Brew Master') on your garden's main 'Track'. Surrounding 'no entry' site spaces on your board gets you SHED TILES (!) and initiates a scoring in the same way. At the end of the game, how far your Brew Master has advanced affects how you are able to bring together your resource markers: you will be scoring off the LOWEST POSITIONED MARKER and using the Brew Master's ratio to spend higher resources to catch the lowest one(s) up.

Aside from the (initially) befuddling 'scoring rules', it didn't take us long to get going and we were soon elbowing each other for the juicy spaces. It reminded me a little of Suburbia in that you're trying to keep a fair balance between your Shady garden to keep the money supply up and the Sunny garden to get those all-important markers moving up the track (if any of the latter are still in the 'starting dead zone', you'll be scoring a miserable ZERO come game end). The opportunity to step on eachother's toes is much more obvious, much easier and much more effective than in Suburbia; you've also got to keep an eye on those barrel bonuses too as you can claim as many as you satisfy when on the Barrel space - this can lead to a satisfying sweep of veeps accompanied by a chorus of curses from your fellows!

Jobbers and Smudge both had completely full boards but were at opposite ends of the final scoring (the former having successfully hiked his components to the top), while Gary and I were more economic in our purchases with me hoovering up VP barrels like some kind of giant barrel-eating VP-hoover (though it was not enough to catch J). I think Boffo will rather like this one (goodness knows the poor chap needs some cheering up!).



We closed with Cubist, a lighter club favourite, and made our separate ways in to the Herefordshire/Gloucestershire night: Winter-lovely, frosty with the tang of wood fires.
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Sat Nov 18, 2017 10:42 am
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Away In A Manger

Anthony Boydell
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Newent. Glos
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This is a very British outrage:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/article/41997936/greggs-sorry-...



It's also bloody hilarious!

Naturally, I am given to wonder what a sausage roll could contribute to board game boxes:



or, perhaps:



Edit: I have started a Geeklist!
https://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/232969/away-mange-boa...

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Fri Nov 17, 2017 6:30 am
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...and another thing...

Anthony Boydell
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Day Two of ‘scribbling difficulties’ and I find myself in a branch of Subway in Cardiff and assailed by a server who (it subsequently seems) has not had a good day so far:

Tony: (cheerily, despite low blood sugar) “A foot-long Italian Meatball sub with extra cheese on Italian Herb bread, please”

Assistant: (as if I’d called her a fat cow) “We don't have Italian Herb bread; we have Italian Bread OR Italian Herb & Cheese bread?”

Tony: “Er…herb and che-“

Assistant: “We don’t have Italian meatballs…”

Tony: (hungry and befuddled) “Um – you have meatballs though, right?”

Assistant: “Yes. But it’s called Meatball Marinara”

Tony: (thinks to himself)I’ve been coming to Subway for 15 years and it used to be called an “Italian Meatball Sub

Assistant: (fed up that this is taking so long ie. about three elapsed seconds) “So. Is it Meatball Marinara you want?”

Tony: “Yes please. With extra cheese, please.”

Assistant: (NOT adding the extra cheese) “Toasted?”

Tony: “Yes please. With extra cheese.”

(The assistant sighs audibly. I wander over to the drinks cabinet which is, confusingly, NOT by the counter but right next to the front door)

Cashier: (calling out) “Excuse me! Are you going to pay?”

Tony: “I’m just getting a drink – “

Cashier & Assistant: (simultaneously, angrily – after all this has now taken about 90 seconds) “Do you want any salad?!”

Tony: “Yes please.”

The sub is warm in my hands and my cheeks are flushed with embarrassment and a growing rage: corrected on my mis-speaking and accused of attempted thievery when all I wanted was a meat roll and a peach tea!

What the actual, strawberry-scented, reduced sugar, two-for-the-price-of-one fuck?!
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Thu Nov 16, 2017 4:07 pm
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Well, here's a thing...

Anthony Boydell
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Newent. Glos
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There's not going to be a blog post today because I can't think of anything to write about. Yesterday's bizniz with the shelves and all managed to eke out another 24 hours but that white rectangle mocks me, daring me to fill it. Work is a wholly-unwelcome stress after such an amazing weekend; not even a wander in to the unhappy pit that is Merthyr Tydfil could reap any charity shop treasures by way of comfort - there is a rumour going around that copies of Colonisation are appearing in a Remainder Store chain for just £15 a pop...but not the branch I visited yesterday. Mind you, I've been binge-watching Stranger Things Season 1 over two nights, so I don't imagine that's been helping; it's the usual "One more episode and we'll call it a night..." and then it's 1AM before you know it syndrome. I tried making a start on glossing up the final notes for the Guilds of London expansion but then I got wrapped up in Google searches for medieval bargemen woodcuts and then it was supper time and then it was settling Arthur time and then it was Blue Planet 2 and bed. So, apologies for the lack of any content; I'll just post a Geekmail to the chap who won my Jack Vasel Memorial Auction Lot (the usual 'Custom Snowdonia Card') - he paid $500, you know? Wow. Maybe I don't need to write anything at all after THAT?! I'll just pour myself a cup of tea, slice an extra large slice of (remaining) birthday cake and let it sink in. Again: apologies.

soblue
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Wed Nov 15, 2017 8:21 pm
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S(h)elf Help

Anthony Boydell
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Surprised Stare Games are on the lookout for some better shelves for our occasional Show visits; the plastic tubular system we've been using is cronky and wonky and a bit shit so, thanks to a very healthily be-gravy-ed Essen Spiel, we feel like splashing out!

My preference is for the classic Ivar system as it's made of thick wood and comes with metal bolts that slot in to holes to support the reinforced wooden shelves; it's dead easy to set up and pull down. We've also been using IVAR around the home for 25+ years:



An alternate suggestion is for the Omar system; this is equally simple to erect but is labelled as 'kitchen' rather than 'living room'. It's made wholly of metal and I am unfamiliar with it's sturdyness - I fear weak poles will bend. I am unfamiliar with it as a storage system suitable for exhibitions:



We could, of course, plump for 'official event furniture' but - as you would expect - I may need to forfeit a kidney for such. So, dear people (if you would be so kind), could you please select the option you think most appropriate / satisfactory for our predicament; bear in mind that you'll be served next years goodnesses at Birmingham/Essen from the victorious ensemble.



Poll: Respect Your Shelf
Which manner of dismantle-able, perpendicular, retentionary apparatus should SSG monitarily transact for in order to maximise exhibitional facility?
Wood is good ergo it's Ivar (the Engine) all the way, stout yeoman!
Metal is bett-al...er: Omar - they're making eyes at me!
Where's the 'plastic' option, you loveable rogue you?
Lego. Always Lego.
Is there really nothing else you could find to write about today?
      184 answers
Poll created by tonyboydell
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Tue Nov 14, 2017 6:20 am
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Happy Snaps II: Tired but Happy

Anthony Boydell
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Sunday was a much slower start and, after the long Saturday, I didn't feel quite so spry as I slunk/slinked along the Landing to the bathroom. Pals Malc and Angie were already downstairs making drinks, so I piggy-backed off of a cafetiere of strong black coffee and attempted to upload the Day 1 photos to this Parish. My Pa joined us and soon, also, Richard and Ben; we chatted until the dregs in our mugs were stony-cold about World Wars, the British Aristocracy and Ancestors before realising the morning was already running away from us!

As I scampered down the road to the Pub, my Facebook Messenger notification showed me a picture message from Boffo: his storage box of all-things-Agricola. My urgent (and excited) pace increased and I took my seat - arranging my Revised Edition replete with the Agricola: Artifex Deck - and ordered a cheesy bacon sandwich while I was at it.


(Left) I do not remember this at all; I have no idea why they are pointing and laughing...perhaps it was something I said?
(Right) Richard's first two card plays had the rest of us in a filth-minded uproar; it continued in a similar (relentless) vein for the remainder.


We were joined by Mrs B, Alice (my eldest), Benedict and Arthur and they occupied themselves with more Rick and Morty: Total Rickall Card Game, JamSumo and the like before Alice declared she wanted to try out Inhabit the Earth. Our five player agrarian ambrosia played out in a couple of hours with myself and Boffo steadily racking up oodles of bonus points around a tidy farmstead (him 47, me 44), Claire flailing about in an unfamiliar-to-her elbow-shoving five player, Ben M nobly persisting through the banter and dirty jokes to a respectable personal best and Richard tying himself up in combo knots and making a couple of timing errors that probably cost him 5-10 points. It was wonderful; every day, in every way, I love Agricola more.

Boffo, once our farming duties were complete, taught and participated in a game of ItE that - according to Mrs B - was "the boys ignoring the girl", which Alice duly won. For myself, I finally co-tabled with Jimmy, Andrew Harman and Dave for a curious debut of Lagerstätten


In summary: it's worker placement with dinosaur bits.


As this clever take on dobber-spotting played out, all of us were purring with admiration about how well the 'digging for fossils' mechanic worked: the more people participating in a site's excavation meant more of the fossil cards 'buried' there would be in the drafting hand upon resolution! Collect fossils, assemble whole specimens and then either sell them to collectors OR send them off on income-producing tours. Jimmy and I got off to a clean and steady start and left the other two well behind; in the end it was a cheeky little Pteranodon that sealed a comfortable victory for me. Jimmy, who runs an FLGS, was already googling the manufacturer's deets, during the takedown, so he could get a batch brought back to the UK in the near future; that play had sold three copies!


Loot Island: not well received, really; from L to R: confused but won, confused but cared even less and just 100% befuddled from start-to-finish.


It was suddenly 4PM and I had family stopping by so it was farewell to the stragglers - and to our Pub hosts - and a benificent distribution of birthday beers and home for hot tea and presents:


Books, games, records, whisky, funny cards, lovely messages and a tunnel for m yet-to-be-built model railway!


With everyone gone and supper done, the last few hours of November 12th passed in the company of my first ever board game design: B.O.G.



Ben M, Alice, Mrs B, Benedict and I howled with mirth at the farcical cinematic storytelling of this lumbering beauty: a gentle start followed by two player deaths, a near death experience, the death/resurrection/re-death of the game's fictional progenitor and a frantic scramble to the Balcony-bound treasure made for quite the fullest, most satisfying session in a long while. A fittingly daft end to the evening and, of course, to a wonderful weekend; the Pub is keen to have us all back again in a more regular capacity...I fear this may be the beginnings of ShedCon!

P.S. Many, many thanks for your kind Birthday wishes: I love you all!
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Mon Nov 13, 2017 6:30 am
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Happy Snaps

Anthony Boydell
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A quiet start: bleary eyes and bacon butties then, having set out the tables and chairs, we started with something light: Fast Forward: FORTRESS.

In summary: Set collection and use a set to 'take over' a fortress card; be the player with the most Fortresses or the lowest-numbered fortress (if tied on numbers) when the third 'Hour glass' appears and you win. Each game digs deeper in to the deck...



As previously-promised to Arthur, we played Scythe with five (no 'wind gambit' due to too many noobs/haven't played for a whiles). Arthur stayed on the table for Adrenaline (and, from all accounts, made blood-thirsty work of his Chainsaw and Sledgehammer!)



Mid-morning and the room is full, warm and free-flowing with an utterly-delicious Plum Porter!



Calimala was probably the Game of the Weekend; almost constantly in-play and exceedingly well-received (great work, Mr Fabio Lopiano!)



It wasn't all the "serious stuff", you know?!



Alex and Mr Alex baked me a delicious gluten-free fruit cake..albeit with dubious decorative flourishes.



Montana, Tulip Bubble and Billy Burnham's favourite Cheating Moth: universally regarded as 'Meh', universally confusing and universally dumb fun respectively.



Santa Fe Rails and the gloriously-gorgeous, most-beloved Glory to Rome. I would play GtR later, after our enormous curry supper, with a group who didn't need any teaching at all: it was totes emosh (and I'm not even joking).



All back to the Shed! Well, back to the kitchen and the garden of Castle Boydell for a slap-up spicy supper and songs around the bonfire! It was especially brilliant to be leading a crocodile of 40 people from The Kings Arms and through the housing estate to our Home! The fresh air certainly did us all the world of good!
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Sun Nov 12, 2017 7:48 pm
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No; Calimala is _not_ deep-fried squid.

Anthony Boydell
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(today, it's a quick write up of yesterday's events)


Opening anecdote: when I went to pick up the second batch of the birthday bottles of beer, I happened to meet up with my old 'A'-level Biology teacher; he was buying a tray of 12 bottles and he chortled to himself when he saw me loading 144 of my own. We waxed-lyrical about 'the old days' (we're talking the 1980s here) and how I was the ONLY student studying 'A'-level Biology and had the Lab to myself: breeding ten generations of Drosophila to see how genetics and mutations work, freezing live locusts to the point of coma so I can vivisect them, pretending I'm on the Nostromo by using the bunsen burner as a flamethrower etc. We supped a light, lunchtime ale as we chatted and I began to feel the first pangs of excitement...


The first beer of the weekend...opened with a little help from 'Bruce the Bottle Opener'!


Anyway, after a fish-and-chip supper, me and Ben and Richard and Craig popped over to Ross-on-Wye for games:


The excellent Calimala in progress. BTW Today's blog title makes reference to young Phillip D's witty rejoinder when I called for players #nowTHATScomedy



#badteacher Tony romps home by a country mile



Becky, quietly-smug, spanks the botties of everyone else at the Lancaster table. Again.



Never have so many..! From West Wales, Belgium, Berlin, Bristol, Berkshire and Bucks.


Intermediate anecdote: a Plough Inn regular wandered in to see what all the noise was, gave the room a confused and disdainful look and drifted straight back out again. Was that pity in his mournful eyes? Or was it the first flickers of rage, for we - this room of weirdos - had just emptied the barrel of the guest ale between us!


Mini Rails: it's a beautiful bastard! My developing beer goggles meant I kept tanking my own share interests (my excuse: the disc was hidden under another disc, m'lud!)



With Surya and Myriam in attendance, it would be rude to NOT play the wonderfully tricky trick-taker Sticheln. It always takes me the first Round to get settled...but that usually means I start Round 2 on minus 30 points!
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Sat Nov 11, 2017 8:40 am
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We have to get on! We have to get on!

Anthony Boydell
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Preparations have been trundling along these last few weeks for my 50th birthday Weekend of Gaming (starts tonight, ends Sunday): beer batch number 1 has been sampled, procured and distributed (@Spiel), new games brought back from Spiel (see below), house cleaned, spaces cleared for temporary lodgers and the venue (The Kings Arms, Newent) have told me what delicious beers shall be on tap.


I wish...


In between the usual WFH tasks (emails, specification updates in the undisturbed peace of my library room, agendae for next week finalised etc), I need to fetch Ben Maddox (pal and Perfect Info podcaster) from Hereford railway station (he's journeying from Berlin especially), pick up batch no.2 of the birthday ale and prepare the components for a Saturday-evening bonfire (I'm running dangerously low on Scandaroons).

I'm also fretting about who's coming and when - though I should let it all wash over me, frankly, as they're grown-ups and perfectly able to sort out shit themselves! Daughters are returning from their travels, my Father will 'drop in' from West Wales, Surya and Myriam will glide across the Channel in their electric pod and gamer widows will congregate in the Boydell kitchen to do whatever it is gamer widows do while we're all dobber-shoving and meeple-pinching.

I don't have a specific list of games I want to play but you can guarantee that there will DEFINITELY be an Agricola (or two) and Arthur wants to play with the flying ships in Scythe, so that's also a given. I have skimmed the rules for Heaven and Ale, Nusfjord, Perfect Hotel, Calimala, Import/Export and Trans Atlantic: thus, a 50p each way on any of those is probably a safe bet too. And my beloved reboxed-in-a-crate Eclipse is making big, kitten eyes at me across the carpet as I type...

Of course, I shall be taking lots of pics and be posting them up here as-and-when I get a spare moment; it's all, simultaneously, terrifying and exhilarating.
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Fri Nov 10, 2017 10:05 am
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Throne of Games

Anthony Boydell
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(from yesterday's sublime to today's ridiculous)

*click*

there's an old adage that states "always take a shit on company time" and that's as true now as it was 100 years ago. Of course, with the advent of mobile device technology, one no longer needs to stare at the back of the (flimsy) door, scrawl offensive statements about ones boss and/or try and levitate a lone sheet of paper off the floor with the power of one's befuddled mind; instead one can check emails (but that's kind-of 'working'), read the news or play games. I am reluctant to conduct verbal business (while I'm conducting other business) as the echo-ing nature of most water closets is a dead giveaway, so 'games' it is!

Popular (or should that be 'plop-ular'?) diversions in the Boydellian hand include:
- Take it Easy! (highest score: 247)
- Monument Valley (much re-completed)
- Rush Hour (well in to the EXPERT levels now) and, occasionally (when a longer stay is required),
- Le Havre.

I've toyed with the idea of taking physically-real, solo variant games in to The Porcelain Sanctum eg. Shephy, Lux Aeterna or Scythe, but the state of many cubicle floors is quite deplorable within 10 mins of the office building being declared open of a morning, so 'water damage' (at the very least) should be avoided.

*knock-knock*

"Who's there?"

"Harry"

"Harry who?"

"Harry up in there, I need to clean it!"

*flushes* (in both senses of the word)
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Thu Nov 9, 2017 12:32 pm
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