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 Tony Boydell

1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5  Next »  [280]

Recommend
64 
 Thumb up
4.00
 tip
 Hide

One Letter Out

Anthony Boydell
United Kingdom
Newent. Glos
Unspecified
flag msg tools
designer
Every homo sapiens needs an outbuilding within the curtelage of their property
badge
Welcome...to my Shed!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb


This may have been done before but let's try it anyway: board game names but with one letter replaced to give, preferrably, a whole new product!

Here are my 10 starters-for-ten:

Hamsa Teutonica (mummified hand management-based route building) / Sansa Teutonica (Game of Thrones cash-in)

Blood Ragu (Viking-themed Mama Mia spin-off) / Rising Nun (Fresco meets Monastery) / Chats In The Old World (Pre-Internet Warhammer social interaction)

A Yeast For Odin (STI-themed Pandemic variant) / Fields Of Arse (EDITED) / Glans Road (ROBUSTLY-EDITED)

Cress (ancient, yet delicious in a peppery way, strategy)

Fettlers of Catan (fiddling with stuff on a remote island community)

Puerto Nico (Moody role selection: Singer, Actress, Model etc; sell Reed for VPs, cultivate the velvet underground and more)

Macao (replaces a chocolate theme with medieval trading) / Cacao (replaces medieval trading with a chocolate theme)

The Quarks of Quedlinburg (Wizards messing about at the Quantum level) / The Mint (silent, co-operative breath freshening)

404 (Game page not found) / The First Spork (cutlery-based area control / route building)

Obstgatten (collect fruit-based spouses), Trumpelfanten (family-friendly game of orange, racing Pres-[THAT'S QUITE ENOUGH OF THAT - ED]

Over to you, you clever lot...
Twitter Facebook
24 Comments
Today 6:15 am
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
57 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide

(At)Wood for Sheep?

Anthony Boydell
United Kingdom
Newent. Glos
Unspecified
flag msg tools
designer
Every homo sapiens needs an outbuilding within the curtelage of their property
badge
Welcome...to my Shed!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb


Mechanisms: hidden traitor, company ownership, one vs many, action selection, storytelling and legacy.
Twitter Facebook
3 Comments
Tue Jun 18, 2019 6:15 am
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
95 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide

A Very Merry Unbirthday

Anthony Boydell
United Kingdom
Newent. Glos
Unspecified
flag msg tools
designer
Every homo sapiens needs an outbuilding within the curtelage of their property
badge
Welcome...to my Shed!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
The kindness of (relative) strangers constantly surprises and delights me. After my post-UKGE, blue afternoon a couple of weeks back fellow Daily Blogger 'nickster1970' (https://www.boardgamegeek.com/blog/673) geekmailed me with an offer of some historical treasures. Below are some pics of the small, well-thumbed collection of cigarette cards - collected through the grandiose smoking exploits of his Great Grandfather - that plopped on to the doormat courtesy of our slightly-intrusive postman on Saturday morning.

Nick went one step further and, conscious of me getting all the good stuff, generously included bijou gifts for Mrs B, Arthur and Ziggy the dog too!























Cigarette card collections went through a bit of a surge in the nineties and early noughties; indeed, you couldn't avoid nicely-framed 'complete sets' of Things Your Mother Warned You About, Farm Machinery Featuring Blades (Set Two), Horses (Just Horses) or Famous Typhoid Victims - a snip at £49.99 etc. No such fate awaits these pocket-rubbed, musty tickets to nicotined nostalgia however: the open piles are to be read, touched, shuffled, smelled and looked up close - the physical connection keeping the temporal connection open.
Twitter Facebook
8 Comments
Mon Jun 17, 2019 6:15 am
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
72 
 Thumb up
1.05
 tip
 Hide

That’s a negative

Anthony Boydell
United Kingdom
Newent. Glos
Unspecified
flag msg tools
designer
Every homo sapiens needs an outbuilding within the curtelage of their property
badge
Welcome...to my Shed!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb

Twitter Facebook
13 Comments
Sun Jun 16, 2019 6:55 am
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
71 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide

Come outside

Anthony Boydell
United Kingdom
Newent. Glos
Unspecified
flag msg tools
designer
Every homo sapiens needs an outbuilding within the curtelage of their property
badge
Welcome...to my Shed!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
The cold Summer continues: shivering in the Library room - nose cold and beacon-glowingly red - I had to put the gas fire on. And a pullover. And my Winter slippers. In between flowcharts and DFDs, I've been layering on the ideas for 18LL (sneaky shot below); I've now handed it over to best gaming buddy Richard - a proper 18XX veteran - for a taking apart (which I fully expect).


This is extraordinarily raw at the moment (I'm working from memories and feelings of 18XXs played previously); it's probably not going to be 'real' 18XX, in the end.




The Ross-on-Wye club is now, in theory, a guaranteed six players with Gerv having reconciled himself to the laborious journey to/from Gloucester and Dave still bright-eyed and enthusiastic. Sometimes, though, we need a little bit of coaxing out of the Front Door; this week it was only the promise of Terraforming Mars that brought Smudge to The Plough Inn.



Thus, we left the others to Wingspan, Thurn und Taxis and Tiny Towns; Jobbers and Smudge and I encamped on the other table, ready for some hot (from cold), steamy (now that there's water) action:



Once again I neglected the actual seeding of Mars with trees in favour of VP cards and noodling about to minimal effect; it really IS about getting your tiles down otherwise you're missing out on 15-20 points and a realistic chance of winning. On every occasion I've neglected plants/cities, I've found myself languishing in a pitiful last place. Not that any of this earnest post-match analysis means a jot because it was devilishly good fun!

Having won rather convincingly, Smudge was further delighted to see me pull Stone Age: Anniversary out of the bag...though she was less happy to watch me construct the patent HiG compartments from the bits she'd neglected to utilise: "You've spoiled it", she wailed; "it was un-punched!". True enough but, of course, give it ten years of baggies sloshing about in an open space and the scuffing would've been intolerable!



Smudge won again despite me worrying Jobbers would wipe the floor with us: apparently he plays this multiple times a day on Yucata?! Despite my best efforts, I couldn't stop Smudge getting a fine collection of square-scoring artifacts and Jobbers' too-late-started starvation strategy kept him permanently behind, so I ended up in the middle on almost 200 points.

We were about 10 minutes too late to start a Nusfjord, so I bit the bullet and read from the rules for Copenhagen:



Collect cards or build Tetris pieces; score points and gain tokens when completing rows and columns (more points if the whole line is windows) - the first to 12 points (or the most when a trigger is reached) is the winner. Copenhagen is absolutely in the Spiel des Jahres wheelhouse - colourful, simple rules and an engaging spacial puzzle - but it didn't even make the Recommended List?! Shamefully, this very fine piece of work will probably be languishing in the Queen Games discount bins come October so it behooves you to pick up a copy because it's really rather good. Indeed, "Blink and you'll miss it" may well be the new motto for the Industry.
Twitter Facebook
7 Comments
Sat Jun 15, 2019 11:25 am
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
137 
 Thumb up
1.00
 tip
 Hide

de-lux-ified

Anthony Boydell
United Kingdom
Newent. Glos
Unspecified
flag msg tools
designer
Every homo sapiens needs an outbuilding within the curtelage of their property
badge
Welcome...to my Shed!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Your ship has sustained massive damage and is falling apart around you; it is drifting toward the ultimate catastrophe, a Black Hole. You are alone.

Alex, cousin to Mrs B and a very fine fine artist indeed, has been sending me a growing number of pieces for the upcoming Lux Aeterna (our Essen 2019 release); to say that I'm 'pleased' really doesn't do justice to the tummy-flips and jaw-drops I experience on first sight:



The simple, crisp Jean Giraud-like lines and the silk screen-esque effect of a single colour flash are utterly gorgeous, haunting and evocative.

Wow.
Twitter Facebook
25 Comments
Fri Jun 14, 2019 8:18 am
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
231 
 Thumb up
87.00
 tip
 Hide

No-one is more surprised than I am

Anthony Boydell
United Kingdom
Newent. Glos
Unspecified
flag msg tools
designer
Every homo sapiens needs an outbuilding within the curtelage of their property
badge
Welcome...to my Shed!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb


"No one said it would be easy but no one said it'd be this hard." (Sheryl Crow)


This year is the 20th anniversary of the founding of Surprised Stare Games Ltd; born of both Alan Paull and myself giving up our permanent employment, the previous year, in favour of the much-more financially lucrative and autonomous world of IT contracting: we actually had a pot of spare money swilling about. Alan and I already knew each other from our weekly Magic: The Gathering sessions in various Cheltenham pubs; sideline chats about game design introduced him to my Coppertwaddle prototype and, while I can’t remember who first suggested we start a company, we’d moved from thought to registered-with-Companies-House status in a matter of weeks.

Me, Mrs B, Alan and Charlie split the 'shares' four ways and nominally assigned roles: me and Alan would do the designing, Charlie - a bit of web-wiz - would do the graphics and layout, and Mrs B would be 'marketing'; as it turned out, the management of our family has never given her much time (or energy) to be anything more than a Silent Partner.

The first product was to be Coppertwaddle; indeed, after a brief but bright career in the 1980s, Alan wasn't really nurturing many new designs and was happy to 'get back in to the swing of it' by helping me get a debut to market. For myself, the bug had truly hit with the Magic-ification of The Black Overcoat Game ånd I had a whole notebook full of ideas: Haunted House (a cut-down BOG), 'Food Fight' (soon to be Bloody Legacy), Scavenger Hunt (run about the house fetching things) and Ecology (which would eventually become Ivor the Engine!).

Coppertwaddle should’ve been a simple process but we knew-not the facilities that could be brought to bear; instead, we paid full whack for art, got a box maker to make the boxes and a printer (rather than a specialist ‘card printer’) to do the cards. Foolishly, the unit cost per CT was about 7 quid which – given an MSRP of £10 – should’ve been the death knell of SSG before we’d even started! It was only after our debut at Essen Spiel, in 2002, that we began to find out the proper way to do things.

Brimful of ideas and enthusiasm, we pitched to Kosmos, Schmidt, Queen, Adlungspiele and Ravensburger and got exactly nowhere; we rocked up at subsequent Nurenbergs and Essens and never made it further than a cosy chat, returned prototypes and a nice cup of coffee: Tara Seat of Kings and Mad Cows (which would eventually become Fzzzt!) were politely-rejected. And Eagle/Gryphon never got back to us about Mountain Railways – whatever happened to that?! We lived in hope that, if straight ‘signing’ wasn’t going to work, licensing would be the second best route to fame and fortune: Adlungspiele cared not for Coppertwaddle, Tara interested no-one and Bloody Legacy? Well, everyone tells you that ‘humour’ does not go down well in board games.

In 2003, the Paulls started up the Designer Weekends where they invited new, UK designer chums Richard Breese, Seb Bleasdale, David Brain and others to come along to play prototypes and share thoughts. Three weekends every year - and still continuing today - of treating the whole process with an appropriate seriousness.

The next few years were steady but quiet; trips to Germany in Feb and Oct, each time learning a little more about how the Game Industry worked. After 2006's Tara, Seat of Kings, the networking we had nurtured seemed to be finally paying off and we were offered a publishing partnership for our next two games: Scandaroon and Confucius. The financial chicanery and mismanagement by the partner - JKLM - nearly destroyed Surprised Stare Games; missing deposits, companies-operating-through-companies and unpaid installments necessitated Alan and I finding £10,000 pretty damn quickly else we’d have lost everything: 2000 copies of Confucius printed but un-assembled in a Carta Mundi warehouse. What should’ve been our breakthrough, serious gamer hit barely broke-even and actually broke Alan in the process. Plans ground to a halt, our confidence battered and trust shattered; we tucked ourselves away for six months and decided to get back on the horse with a simple card game – easing gently back in to the autonomy we’d enjoyed at the start.

Now that knew we about dedicated card printers, we paid significantly-less for the production of Fzzzt! in 2009 – our 10th birthday. Fzzzt! sold out (1400 copies) at Spiel, led to two separate licensing deals and won an award. We had learned some valuable lessons – the unlucky, hard way – but at least we had survived and - dare I say it - prospered just a little bit? To say we were relieved is an understatement.

Working consistently within our means (relying on no one else but ourselves), we rolled out Paperclip Railways, Totemo and On The Cards to a warming reception and felt settled at last. Of course, the pickup of Snowdonia by Lookout Games was the absolute pivotal moment for Surprised Stare Games: it boosted our sales, our profile, our funds and our self-esteem. Publishers and industry types - who had walked on by a year before - were stopping, chatting...and negotiating! Feeling more relaxed and playful, I started the Shed blog.

Our teenage years were busy and bumpy but always the momentum was maintained - Snowdonia expansions covering us for a couple of leaner Essen Spiels - and we relaxed in to a steady rhythm. Emerging from the fug of the Confucius debacle, Alan immersed himself in his beloved War gaming (Mission Command) and discovered one of the best big-game-in-a-little-box games of the millenium: The Cousins' War - so glad to see him back on form again!

At twenty, Surprised Stare Games find themselves in a tranquil place: battle-scarred veterans in the British gaming community, we have a surfeit of publishing projects in development and international partners who are pressing us for ‘first dibs’. We have worked with our heroes and designed with/for our favourite publishers, done a TCG and had boxes in High Street retailers. The mortgage-clearing super-hit and/or SdJ still elude us; Scandaroon (deservedly) and Confucius (undeservedly) haunt us, but we're still good pals and we're devoted to this business!

While it might be appropriate to toast the years to come, I think I'd prefer to toast a company that will be fit to pass on to a new generation; maybe Arthur will be writing the retrospective for our 50th anniversary? I wonder if he'll be less sweary than his old Pa?

Twitter Facebook
50 Comments
Thu Jun 13, 2019 6:20 am
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
92 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide

A True And Proper Record

Anthony Boydell
United Kingdom
Newent. Glos
Unspecified
flag msg tools
designer
Every homo sapiens needs an outbuilding within the curtelage of their property
badge
Welcome...to my Shed!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
My friend told me that it was a lot cheaper to go to the UK Games Expo if I volunteered; he said that I would need a hi-visibility vest and my own lanyard but, in return, I’d get a free room and as many Keyforge decks as I could eat. The pre-show Stewards’ conference gave us a list of the type of things to watch out for; things that could prove dangerous to visitors and/or damaging to the organisers’ reputation eg. offensive roleplaying scenarios, public displays of enjoyment and/or refusing to pay £4 for a bottle of water. I was assigned to Hall 2 where my responsibilities included kicking litter in to the corners, walking away from people in the middle of their questions and stopping stand staff from coming back in when they’d gone to the van to restock. My manager had to keep nipping off to hand in more pre-filled ‘Peoples’ Vote’ slips, so it was up to me to slow down the queues for coffee by ordering 20 Turmeric lattes at a time and then paying with a card that kept being refused; someone tutted so hard they lost a front tooth. On Friday, I was allowed to close off the Bring-and-Buy saying that there was a Suspect Package: we destroyed eight copies of Subdivision and a mint Gloomhaven that afternoon; my manager laughed so hard as he was doing it that he needed a Man Nappy. There was a football match on the Saturday evening, so my job was to send all the board gamers away from the Bar area saying “It’s reserved for the Football fans, I’m afraid.” and also send all the Football fans away saying “It’s reserved for the Board Gamers, sorry.”. We had the whole place to ourselves for two hours; there was a smashing view of the car park from the leather sofas. I was allowed to take time off for a couple of the Podcast records over the weekend, so took my Seat Riser and my Cosplay ‘Cat In The Hat’ hat to the Toute Suite in time for Sit The Fuck Down and Shut The Fuck Up!, Vascillating with Vasel, The Dice Shower and No Penis Included. The Free Play area was open 24 hours, so I was sent in to the Game Library to alternately hide the most popular checkout items under the desk; our new IT guy had rewritten the code to show everything was being checked-in between 5 and 50 minutes late, regardless – at 50p a pop for fines, we had enough for half a pint of the Artisan Beer, between us, by 0100HRS. I was very, very tired on the Sunday - irritable and drifting off constantly - so they put me on the UKGE Merch stand where I could have a nap whenever I wanted; someone blogged that it was the longest queue for tee-shirts that they’d ever seen – my manager was on cigarette burn-hole/mislabel the sizes duty for a bit, which was nice. Overall it was a very enjoyable weekend.
Twitter Facebook
12 Comments
Wed Jun 12, 2019 6:15 am
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
89 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide

What fresh LL is this?

Anthony Boydell
United Kingdom
Newent. Glos
Unspecified
flag msg tools
designer
Every homo sapiens needs an outbuilding within the curtelage of their property
badge
Welcome...to my Shed!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb

We had some beer at the UKGE.

We started talking.

Daft suggestions for game ideas were thrown around.

I had an afternoon clear last Sunday.


18LL?!

Wish me lluck.
Twitter Facebook
14 Comments
Tue Jun 11, 2019 6:20 am
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
78 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide

God Bless Mr Gutenberg

Anthony Boydell
United Kingdom
Newent. Glos
Unspecified
flag msg tools
designer
Every homo sapiens needs an outbuilding within the curtelage of their property
badge
Welcome...to my Shed!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
As a man of great intellectual breadth and depth*, being asked "Is there anything in particular that you're looking for?" in a secondhand bookshop / thrift store is a waste of breath, frankly. I don't know until I see it and there could be many reasons as to why something piques my interest. For example, here's the last week's gatherings:



'The Eagle of the Ninth' is a lovely hardback, 5th printing from 1961; 'One of Our Thursdays is Missing' is signed by the author; some are 'research' (trains, ships obvs); the 'Shiver and Shake' annual contains one of the first published strips of Guardian political cartoonist Steve Bell (a personal hero); poetry (because I'm a pseud) and a design-gorgeous 'Pan' edition of a classic sci-fi piece.

Anything eclectic, beautiful, a classic (but missing from my collection), a better version of something already in my collection and/or just something I've not seen before will ease the pennies from my pocket.

*I larka nice book ya forced to
Twitter Facebook
15 Comments
Mon Jun 10, 2019 6:15 am
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls

1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5  Next »  [280]

Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.