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

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Brett-spieling

Anthony Boydell
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Newent. Glos
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I mentioned the weekender guest attendance of Mr Brett J. Gilbert in my write-up of Friday night’s session but neglected to explain what the Fellow was doing at Boydell HQ in the first place. This was, of course, a deliberate tactic to elicit curiosity and increase tension which – perusing the response to the post – achieved neither, in the final analysis. Never mind, for I shall tell you more whether you want me to or not because – as you might imagine – it’s a real bugger putting something together day-after-day:

Brett and I have been noodling about with a light-to-medium weight card game with an Air Race theme (qv. Those Magnificent Men In Their Flying Machines) for about a year now and, to be honest, Brett’s been far too busy getting his games published and garnering SdJ-type award nominations to give it his fullest attention: thus, it seemed a wholly sensible idea to trap him in invite him over to the hoose (rhymes with ‘moose’) and properly sort it out. And, goodness, ‘sort it out’ we did! To aid us in our quest, I invited the Friday night attendees for a spot of Saturday lunch and some play-testing, sprinkled with the intimation that some published games might get a look-in too. So, around/about lunch time the Batesons and Jobbers scowled through the front door, eager for ingress, and the latter laden with as much low-alcohol Stowford’s Cider as he could carry.



I sat out of the first game (to let Brett dip in for his first multi-player experience); my job being to observe (natch) and, as is traditional, make snarky comments about Boffo’s play choices. Though our RoW pals have played ‘MagMen’ before, Brett and I had already – over a strong coffee and an early-AM ‘two player’ – tweaked and clarified the card play/resolution sequence and several card effects. It was pleasing to see the drafting phase (‘the Practice Race’) merge seamlessly in to the main Race phase though Jobbers’ violent outburst during final scoring - when he, as ‘the most villainous’, was penalised by 5VP – threatened to bring the afternoon to an abrupt “I’m going home and taking my crisps with me!” end! It was clear, when we’d talked him down off the highest gable, that:
a) ‘most villainous’ was better converted in to ‘every one loses VPs based on how villainous they have been’; and,
b) this should only be applied in the advanced mode of the game ie. not the ‘intro’ game.

Catastrophe-averted, we reset the board and swapped seats and started again (removing ‘most villainous’). Jobbers, obviously adrenalized by his previous outrage, drafted a solid deck that garnered him a heady pot of free-to-play wildcard tokens and whizzed in to Paris while we were still admiring the Kent coast! Both Brett and I had spotted some card effect quirks but there would be too much of a delay to do that thee-and-then (it would take us a goodly couple of hours later and on the Sunday morning) so, strong cheese and crackers in hand, we gathered our testers in the library room for their ‘proper games’ reward.

First up was a belter – and another one unknown to Mr G (what the Hell does he do with his gaming time, eh?!):


It looks a bit like a vomit-strewn table but - unlike Aquasphere - Notre D is not a massive pile of Arse.


I am usually pretty good at ‘the Dee to the En’, but it was Boffo’s turbo-charged Carriage/ignoring the Church that pushed him comfortably to a win.

Second up, Libertalia, was under the G-meister’s belt already BUT he’d had (another) sour experience and remained trepidatious and unconvinced (WTF? Someone seems on a mission to cloud the poor chap’s eyes against the good stuff!); not that he let this spoil his first week’s performance, ending with an astonishing total of FIFTY-THREE doubloons whilst the rest of us were well-chuffed with our own ‘in the 30s’ totals!



Arrrrrrrrrrr! Etc


That 20 point gap looked unassailable but, then, this IS Libertalia and the second week played out with CURSES EVERYWHERE tomfoolery and Brett wheezed to the Sunday with just 12 doubloons, the rest of us able to catch back up. Week three, always tense, came down to a head-to-head of Me vs Boffo and there were just a couple of points in it; my saved-until-the-very-last Monkey (pass all your curses to the left), kept me safe from penalties and a Blackbeard-y whisker ahead of Ben and a late-sprinting Smudge!

In other news, Brett and I managed to brainstorm a lovely Trad-feeling children’s game design for a pitch next week AND he played Lux Aeterna without tearing it to pieces at the end!




Setting all of that incidental stuff aside, it was an excellent couple of days where important work was completed and excellent progress was made; Brett even found time, in the stillness of a Newent Sunday morning, to mock up some new MagMen card layouts (courtesy of Google clip-art, for now):


Beautiful, aren’t they?
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Today 6:20 am
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Wot? No Runcible Spoon?

Anthony Boydell
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(With apologies to everyone, really)



I
The Feld and the Rosenberg went to Spiel
In a beautiful Berlingo
Dressed up to the nines, they packed their designs
And drove up the Ee-four-and-Oh.

The Feld looked over the Messe beliebte
And sang to a small guitar
"O lovely Rosie! O Rose, meine Geliebte
What a clever Spielautor you are, you are, you are
What a clever Spielautor you are!

II
Uwe said to the Feld, "You are good as Geld"
How charmingly sweet is your Hymn
Let us further delight in zusammenarbeiten
But what shall we take as the Theme?

They toiled away, for a year and a day
In the land where the Rhine and Ruhr wend
And there to Göttingen the mock-up did bringen
And tested it set-up to end, to end, to end
And tested it set-up to end.

III
"Dear publishing bureau, we will sell for 5 euro
Per copy?" Said the Späher: "A pact!"
So they took it away, it was printed next day
By respected A.G. Ludofact.

They dined on steak, and slices of cake,
Which from royalty cheques they did pay,
And, hand-in-hand, they conquered the land
And accepted the Kenner-D.J, -D.J, -D.J,
They accepted the Kenner-D.J.
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Mon Sep 18, 2017 6:24 am
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Kicking the Bucket (King)

Anthony Boydell
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Arthur set off for a corkingly-adventurous Cub camp at the West Midlands Safari Park, on Friday, armed with the requisite inventory of sleeping kit, utensils and thick socks. WMSP is well beloved of the Boydell family - being a favourite resort when they were all little - but not previously known for it's under-canvas hosting. As we were scoffing a pre-Bus pie-and-chips supper, we read aloud from the Kit List that they would be located "between the Lions and the Hippos"; I can only imagine the legally-required Risk Assessment is an effing brick of papers for this one.


He's under that lot somewhere!


With the young 'un safely (for now?!) dispatched, and the older lads already at their 'Social', that left myself and our weekend guest - the considerably more successful than yow designer Mr Brett J. Gilbert - to beetle our way down the #redskyatnight M50 for games at Ross-on-Wye's The Plough Inn (as per).

Brett has played a lot of games, as you would expect, but his list of more gamer-y fayre is shorter than ours by a considerable number of classics; keen to rectify this gap while he's effectively 'captive', I'd popped a quick message to Boffo requesting The Princes of Florence: "Already packed, mister." he replied, succinctly. He's not daft, is he?

PoF is an absolutely breeze to explain, so I loudly announced that Ben could explain and that I would stay silent throughout the teaching; while I managed to avoid talking, I think the noise of me biting my tongue could be heard in the Public Bar next door! We were off, then, and a slightly-befuddled Brett was gifted the Start Player.

God, but it was another absolute bloody corker of a game! Characteristically, Jobbers set off on some determined (in-his-head) path and Ben chirruped the usual complaints about mismatched Professions, having messed up his early buys etc; uncharacteristically, Becky seemed to stumbling and unfocused. Brett slipped in to Building and a trio of Prestige cards that meant there were only a handful of single squares left on his board and I ground out 6 Works in 7 rounds to what I knew would be a good final score and, probably, a winner. However, Boffo's relentless protestations of woe became quickly-apparent as flummery, hogpiffle and bunkwash: the bugger had a standing ovation-worthy rounds 6 and 7 to sneak him one point ahead of me and Brett to take the win:


He claims to be as surprised as the rest of us BUT chapeau, monsieur: well-played indeed!


I don't think a prior Boffonian PoF victory exists in living memory, so this was a landmark achievement indeed for our huff-whiskered founder!

Tingling in the post-Eurorgasmic glow, we continued the loose auctions theme and dug out another RoW Hall-of-Famer Isle of Skye: From Chieftain to King; Brett has played this one before but it was "late at night" (and with a group who I would've expected to go in to Deadlock Processing Loops trying to value everything optimally), so there was an opportunity for a sour experience to be redeemed!

The first tile (l) drawn out of the bag by anyone was by me; the traditional 'Boffo needs a pic of the final scores' snap (r)


Becky built on her poor PoF-ing with an equally shambolic Scottish Isle and was in danger of being lapped by a confident Jobbers; Brett matched me and Boffo point-for-point until the money-in-to-veeps tot-up when they skidded ahead for 3rd and 2nd places respectively.


Welcome to Ross, you twit!


To end, it being another courier duty night, we had time for Bucket King 3D.

In summary: Each player builds a 4-3-2-1 pyramid from 2-of-each (of five) coloured plastic mini-buckets. The active player plays out 1-2-3 cards of a single colour and announces clockwise or anti-clockwise; players must play out card(s) of the same colour but exceeding the prior Player's total otherwise they must push/flick a bucket of that colour from their pyramid. All collapsed buckets are removed from play and as soon as two players have lost their pyramid, the game is over and the largest remaining intact pyramid wins.

A stupid-but-brilliant game for two reasons:
i) Becky, first to be unable to follow the climbing card total, flicked a bucket across the table and completely collapsed MY pyramid! This is specifically NOT allowed in the rules but Ben nearly choked on his beer-sip in the aftermath; and,
ii) Brett, with just two adjacent buckets remaining, was forced to flick one of them else he would trigger the game-end (I was well out of it by this point). With a manner of resolved determination and careful trajectorial calculation, he lined up his index finger to the right bucket and then shat-the-bed with a wild table-sweeper that send both clattering-and-tumbling in to the box at the other end of the table! As you can see above, the 'We Happy Few' selfie-for-posterity - 5 minutes later - STILL illustrates both Brett's persistent, deep shame and our belly-wobbling mirth. We may be a small club but, on evenings like this, we are perfectly-formed.
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Sun Sep 17, 2017 8:51 am
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Blink and you'll miss it.

Anthony Boydell
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Um...


I have been (like you, probably) robotically-clicking 'Not Interested' through most of the Essen Spiel preview list updates because I don't have an unlimited pot o' cash. All of things of which I was previously aware (and excited about) have had their own entries for ages, so it takes something rather special to catch my eye at this late stage.

Aside: I'm sure it's just me BUT I find it really annoying that some 'big game' announcements are kept all-secret-until-the-last-minute (Exhibit A: that game from Uwe that looks the same as Cottage Garden but isn't...but may well be for all I know); I just can't be arsed to have to research anything more in advance!

However, the game I am going to mention today has been in the preview for a while but was brought to my attention by Good Foreigner Morten*; he directed me to the YouTubes and I discovered this:


(The always excellent) Heavy Cardboard's look at Mini Rails from Mark Gerrits


Okay, so it's 45 minutes long but you only need to watch the first ten to get a full, exciting, must-have glimpse in to this corking little game. I was so thrilled that it immediately bumped (the twice as expensive) Whistle Stop from my wish list! And I mailed designer Mark, in a fever, to reserve a copy tooty-sweetie (PLUS he's in the next aisle to us in Hall 7, so I might pick up a couple!).

I may, therefore, have to trawl through the other 630 things I've dismissed out-of-hand already but feel free to save me time and let me know of something I may have unjustly scratched out; to help, here's my current "NEED!!!!" selection (bold = super-essential):

Games with no location info
Adrenaline: Team Game Expansion - Czech Games Edition
Agricola: Artifex Deck - Mayfair Games
Alien Artifacts - Portal Games
Concordia: Aegyptus / Creta - PD-Verlag
Nusfjord - Mayfair Games

Hall 1
Brettspiel Adventskalender 2017 - Frosted Games (1 - D122)
Deutscher Spielepreis 2017 Goodie Box - Frosted Games (1 - D122)
Oh My Goods!: Escape to Canyon Brook - Lookout Games (1 - F133)
Riverboat - Lookout Games (1 - F133)
The Colonists Expansion - Lookout Games (1 - F133)
Powerships - Cwali (1 - G125)

Hall 2
Calimala - ADC Blackfire Entertainment GmbH (2 - D128)
Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Card Game - Renegade Game Studios (2 - D148)
The Fox in the Forest - Renegade Game Studios (2 - D148)

Hall 3
Charterstone - Stonemaier Games (3 - E102)
Charterstone Recharge Pack - Stonemaier Games (3 - E102)
Meeple Circus - Matagot (3 - E102)
Scythe: The Wind Gambit - Matagot (3 - E102)
Finn Billiards - Ferti (3 - L100)
Photosynthesis - Blue Orange (EU) (3 - M107)
Queendomino - Blue Orange (EU) (3 - M107)
Keyper - Character Edition - R&D Games (3 - O101)
Terraforming Mars: Venus Next - Stronghold Games (3 - O105)
Montana - White Goblin Games (3 - O106)
Outlive - La Boite de Jeu (3 - O108)

Hall 6
Wibbell++ - Stuff By Bez (6 - I102)
The Climbers - Simply Complex (6 - I104)
Lisboa: Heavy Cardboard Promo - Eagle-Gryphon Games (6 - J112)
Hall 7

John Company - Sierra Madre Games (7 - A124)
Harvest - Tasty Minstrel Games (7 - B102)
Pioneer Days - Tasty Minstrel Games (7 - B102)
Perfect Hotel - JUGAME STUDIO (ジュゲムスタジオ) (7 - D100)
Herbalism - EmperorS4 (7 - D108)
Round House: 2nd Expansion – Port City - EmperorS4 (7 - D108)
Mini Rails - Moaideas Game Design (7 - F100)
Tulip Bubble - Moaideas Game Design (7 - F100)
Peak Oil - 2Tomatoes (7 - K120)

*in Brexit Britain, we're now legally-obligated to classify all Europeans as either 'Good' or 'Bad' to ensure we don't provoke a foam-mouthed Leaver in to an unnecessary rant eg. "That Roger Federer - a good foreigner - is quite good at the Tennis, isn't he?" or "Adolf Hitler - a bad foreigner - wasn't a nice person, was he?" or "(Good) French Golden Delicious apples are tasty, aren't they?" etc
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Sat Sep 16, 2017 6:33 am
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angry, jealous spies (got telephones for eyes)

Anthony Boydell
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Pull out pretty much any old game - and I'm talking about pre-1990s now - and you'll probably find a TM or circled R somewhere on the box top: those old timers were shit-keen on protecting their IP with superscript-ed glyphs and 'Patents' both 'Pending' and 'Applied For'. It still amuses me to either ear-wig on / participate in conversations with 'fresh' game designers who are nervously-reluctant to talk about what they're doing for fear of being hijacked by a treacherous, shadow-dwelling plagiarist; I have even heard of them demanding NDAs of the companies to whom they are presenting/demoing! How, simultaneously, charmingly-naive and lumberingly-stupid.



We at Surprised Stare Games got a cease-and-desist email when we were producing Tara, Seat of Kings back in the mid-2000s; a chap producing a game also called Tara: his was a 3D tile-laying puzzle thing, ours a card-driven area control thing with a (Celtic) twist. He got quite aggressive in his missive, banging on about how his game was older than ours, how he had started using 'Tara' as a name first etc etc yadda yadda blah blah; naturally, having sent the files off to Ludfact, we took advice from a mate who was also a Solicitor: the upshot was that we registered Tara, Seat of Kings as a Trade Mark for £200 and told the other chap (respectfully) to piss off! Awkwardly, he had a Stand at the Essen Spiel that year which was about 200 yards away from ours in Hall 4; we passed no words until, on the Sunday, he remarked upon our Tara's 4th place in the Fairplay scouts' Top 10 of the show: "People obviously voted for your game thinking it was mine.".



There's absolutely no point in being paranoid; there's nothing new under the Sun and most offenses are committed by those already close to the victim: a co-designer with a gripe, a chancing play-tester or that bloke in the stripey black-and-white shirt and the "SWAG" rucksack. If you want to get worried about anything then get worried about the mass production of copies of your games by unlicensed groups in countries over which you have no jurisdiction - but only if you're the designer of a BGG Top 100 game, which you're not, so...

I believe that you should be unashamedly PUBLIC about your endeavours; sing from the rooftops, post plenty of WIP pictures and articles and put yourself - and your prototypes - about at conventions. You're more likely to see the Path of Success open up to you by being confident than shivering in the basement having blacked out all the curtains.

Why have I muted the camera shutter noise on my iPhone? Er, no reason; now, if you'll just open the box and tell me ALL about it...
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Fri Sep 15, 2017 6:47 am
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FLGS 40 (Rules)

Anthony Boydell
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(we are in an FLGS; there is a painted logo on the window which reads Friendly Hobby Games & Cards)

Door bell: *ding-a-ling-a-dong ding dong ding*

Customer: (cheerfully) Good morning!

Cashier: (tersely) 100% incorrect because it’s on or after 12PM, so: “Good afternoon”

Customer: Er –

Cashier: Can I help you? I’m really rather busy.

Customer: (looks around the obviously-empty shop) Um – I was wondering if you had a copy of 7th Continent; I hear it’s very good!

Cashier: 38% irrelevant as to whether it’s good or not, 33% inaccurate because it’s called “The 7th Continent”. And: “No”, we don’t have any retail copies.

Customer: Oh, bugger; that’s disappointing.

Cashier: I am issuing you with an official warning for profanity; please do not reply to me directly but you may contest the warning with the Manager.

Customer: What?

(the cashier, stoney-faced, stares silently back at the customer)

Customer: Can I pre-order 7th Continent, then?

Cashier: 88% unclear: I cannot make out any details of a preferred timescale. And you've missed out the 'The' again.

Customer: (peeved) Look, mate, I’d like to pre-order (interrupting himself) – paying a 10 percent down payment on – a retail copy of THE 7th Continent – published by Serious Poulp – giving you advanced notice of up to 3 months after which –if still unavailable - I’d like the pre-order to be cancelled and my deposit refunded. Within 30 days.

(the customer pauses, mildly-triumphant)

Cashier: (makes to reach under the counter; there is an interminable pause) One –

Customer: - Yes?

Cashier: - hundred percent –

Customer: - Yes? Yes?

Cashier: (slams hand down hard on the counter) – INCORRECT because The 7th Continent is a Kickstarter-only item and not (yet) available in retail; consequently, your order has been refused! (pulls air to punctuate the sentence) Additionally, we are not 'mates'.

Customer: (angry) You bloody imbecile!

Cashier: (interrupting) This establishment will not tolerate personal attacks and you have been served with a 30 day ban; you will be unable to enter this shop during that period or interact with it’s staff and/or products in any way. The ban is effective immediately.

Customer: Wha?

(the cashier leads the customer to the door, opens it for him and waits until he walks through)

Customer: This is an outrage!

Cashier: Thanks for understanding (closes the door and returns to his position behind the counter)

(the telephone rings)

Cashier: (picking up) Good afternoon?

Voice on Phone: (audible but tinny) Good afternoon – is that “Friendly Cards & Hobby Games”?

Cashier: Only a 60% match: rejected (puts the phone down). Rules are rules, after all.
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Thu Sep 14, 2017 6:23 am
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The darkest hour is just before the Dawn

Anthony Boydell
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I’m heading for a mid-life crisis, I can feel it. I managed to sail up to, through, and away from my 40th birthday with barely a wobble (though the purchase of a suede waistcoat might suggest otherwise). The presence of a new Boydell baby in the subsequent years most-definitely helped but, now that Arthur doesn’t require bedtime stories and makes his own breakfast, the shiny protective bubble is flickering at last. A growing dissatisfaction with ‘real work’, and a tendency toward dreamy (sometimes melancholic) nostalgia, have raised my anxiety levels and – occasionally – led to some arresting panic attacks. Last night, I woke with a start at 3AM and rolled over on to my favourite side (the left); hand tucked in to a cool pillow gap, I hurrumphed the grumble of the inconvenienced waker.



Settled, I initiated the ready-to-snooze mental mantra: drifting off to thoughts of games; however, Instead of turn orders and component design and board layouts came images of lost friends, money worries, the horribly-swift passage of Time and the stomach-churning dread of Death: in the dark – in the warm stillness of the softly-breathing house – this is a terrifying experience. In order to conquer the oppressive blackness, I gritted my mental teeth and determinedly-returned my waking dreams to the happy place: games and gaming!

What Essen Spiel is going to be like in October (this always makes me excited to think of the travelling – which I love – and the meet ups and the goodies to be collected);

What Essen Spiel will be like next year when Arthur gets to come with me for the week (it could, very likely, coincide with the big release of A Nice Cup of Tea and Snowdonia 3rd Edition); and,

What other gaming projects are coming to fruition (Magnificent Men, Lux Aeterna)

Game nights. Always game nights.

In the blink of a sigh, three hours passed and the alarm on my phone was chiming the 0600HRS; creaking-boned, I rose – refreshed and cheerful – to greet the new day with a cloudless sky.
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Wed Sep 13, 2017 9:13 am
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Separated at birth?

Anthony Boydell
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They say everyone has a doppelganger...


Tony Boydell (left) & Great Uncle Bulgaria (right)
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Tue Sep 12, 2017 6:20 am
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Comical

Anthony Boydell
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Saturday dawned clear (if not entirely bright) and I blearily shambled to the kitchen to make the wake-up drinks; the plan was for 'us boys' to nip in to Gloucester to visit Comic Con 2017 and then sweep up a quick visit to the Newent Onion Fayre on the return journey.

Stage One:
I parked up and (optimistically, it turned out) paid for the whole day then we walked across a busy late AM city centre to the Stadium venue. The 'Stadium' sounds very grand indeed but, in reality, GCC2017 comprised two thin 400yard conference-room corridors squashed with 100 or so vendors who - in an embarrassing retailer equivalent of turning up wearing the same dress as someone else at a cocktail party - all sold the same selection of TCGs, Alien figurines, Power Ranger/Doctor Who/Star Wars figures and superhero-themed paraphernalia. The occasional Walking Dead 'print' and several tables of artists hawking their wares provided the merest smear of variety but, overall, if you didn't like The Joker or Harley Quinn you were in for a massive disappointment. One might argue that the wide array of oversized pushchairs and people just stopping dead-in-their-tracks to block the thoroughfare lent an air of risk/danger but it's an argument that's gonna get you laughed out of the building. At least we could rely on that Comic Con staple: the Cosplayers! Yes, indeed, it seems that Dramione is all the rage in the region; that and Spiderman who, alarmingly, came in a variety of tall/short/thin/fat/adult/child/infant forms (often exciting multiple combinations from that list). I'll not dignify the squad of Imperial Stormtroopers with a mention: those effers are like rats...you're never more than six feet from a cosplayer dressed up as a bloody stormtrooper. C*nts.


(clockwise from top left) RT-B5 meets R2-D2; crystal clear vision; the obligatory Dalek; he is "Groot", apparently; a few short minutes before nausea, shouting and regret; Seymour has obliged the request for sustenance; a mint condition (and coloured) classic Rover (apropos of nothing, it's just a cool thing)


Arthur had a nice time (that's only because he found himself £25 worth of Transformer for £15) but the rest of it was a crowded, meat-odoured anti-climax. With all the fun of the event now firmly squeezed - and thirty quid out-of-pocket for 4 pasties and 4 drinks - we retrieved the car from it's pissaroma multi-storey and drove home.

Stage Two:
Warm sun on our backs, we wandered in to Newent to browse the streets filled with stalls; yes, it was pretty much an outdoors version of Comic Con but with considerably less 'Batman'. I managed to source some Candyfloss for Mrs B and promised my youngest a go on one of the fairground rides before nipping (smartly) home. Arthur choose 'The Extreme' (see pics) and we were subjected to a long, full five minutes of spinning, harness-straining upside-down suspension and eye-bleeding centripetal pressure before staggering back in to the milieu; as soon as we'd wobbled through the Exit gate, the Heavens opened with a crash and pissed a month's worth of rain on to the crowd in 5 minutes. It was hardly Harvey or Irma but, by the time we'd jogged to Casa Boydella, Arthur and I were both entirely soaked-and-shivering:


Wetter than an otter's pocket!


Thankfully, the day didn't end on that bedraggled note; we saw the evening in with hot chocolate and the breathtaking Kubo and the Two Strings - there was nothing comical about THAT.
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Mon Sep 11, 2017 6:15 am
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Dirty Old Town

Anthony Boydell
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An alternative view of my (almost victorious) game-end tableau from Friday night...



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Sun Sep 10, 2017 8:19 pm
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  • [+] Dice rolls

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