Today my little brother - the youngest of the Boydell siblings - is Fifty (50) (five followed by a zero) (L). I was three-and-a-half when he was born and I have just a single, photograph-like memory of the event in my mind's eye: getting out of a massive lift at the Royal Gwent, my mother carrying him in a tiny bundle.
He's a pensive fellow - at least when he's with 'the family' - but, by all accounts, led a pretty active teen lifestyle as a BMX-er: building bikes for folk, competing, roadie-ing at Carter USM gigs (and introducing me to Dinosaur Jr, Ned's Atomic Dustbin and Sonic Youth) and generally being cool. He trained to be a Building Surveyor, taught Italian Cookery at a local college, framed pictures as a business and, ultimately, specialised as a craftsman of musical instruments (guitars, ukulele) and my lovely Agricola chest. He even designed - and handmade - a board game:
Now, he runs a delicatessen on the Welsh coast and gets entirely too much behind taste-testing local cheese. Last year, while stuck in Covid isolation in Australia, he got married.
tl;dr a talented fellow of whom I am immensely proud! Happy Birthday, Little Bro!
Life and Games (but mostly games) from Tony Boydell: Dad, Husband and Independent UK Game Designer.
Archive for Tony Boydell
26 Jun 2021
- [+] Dice rolls
You can make a game about anything and, if done right, you can get a positive message for a sensitive subject even in the darkest of times. The onset of the Second World War was no laughing matter and, yet, Vacuation (1939) - a seriously hard-to-find deck from Pepys- tries to provide some distracting chuckles:Quote:
(from Wikipedia - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evacuations_of_civilians_in_Br...)
Almost 3.75 million people were displaced, with around a third of the entire population experiencing some effects of the evacuation. In the first three days of official evacuation, 1.5 million people were moved: 827,000 children of school age; 524,000 mothers and young children (under 5); 13,000 pregnant women; 70,000 disabled people and over 103,000 teachers and other 'helpers'. Children were parted from their parents.
There's nothing like a series of familiar, societal stereotypes - and puns - to warm the cockles of a young 'uns heart:
Silly and reassuring cartoons aside, Vacuation (wherefore the 'E'?) is an UNO-esque hand-emptier: follow with the same 'Letter', 'M' cards are wild (but you announce the type: B-oy, G-irl, H-ouseholder or T-eacher) and the 'A' (Alarm - following a H-ouseholder) & 'E' (Extra gas mask - following a T-eacher) cards have special effects. When someone has 'gone out', penalty points are awarded for remaining cards in hand: 5 for B/G/H/Ts , 10 for any 'M'-aster and 20 for a special (A-larm, E-xtra Gas Mask).
Not very sophisticated, I grant you; but, then, who wants sophisticated when there's a bloody war on? Games bring people - families, friends and complete strangers - together; was there ever a better time for that to be a front-and-centre goal?
- [+] Dice rolls
(Warning: this joke might offend those of you who never used to read 1970s British war comics for kids*)
So, I was watching the footballs on the old gogglebox - with my tea on me knee - waiting for t'others to join. It were the Germany game on the ITVs and the missus asked me which team were which, like and - to be honest - the score card in the top-left of t'screen were no 'elp at all:
As it turns out, the scores for the group mean that the lacklustre and unambitious England will be playing Germany in the 'Last 16': here's hoping it goes all the way to penalties...again**
*titles like Battle, Hotspur and Victor that were liberally-sprinkled with casual xenophobia, jingoism and name-calling
**I am not an England soccer team fan
- [+] Dice rolls
James Hunt's Grand Prix Racing Game is another Denys Fisher Toys licensed IP curio from the mid-1970s based on the (fleetingly successful) career of Brit Formula One 'gentleman hero' (and 1976 World Champion)
Chris HemsworthJames Hunt*.
The genre is, of course, mightily-stuffed with product and seems to have developed from/morphed out of the pre-1960s obsession with animal (horse, greyhound) racing: roaring engines, testosterone and fabulous speeds being the order of a young lad's gaming day.
The wrinkle with JH is the playing out of the 'speedometer' cards which also have tie-break/forced pit-stop elements in the smaller dial combinations.
Sequential playing out of an appropriate card at the right place on the course - avoiding the clichéd snakes and ladders - and tucking inside / tactical blocking being the key.
The only BGG comment is rather cruel:
"Car boot 50p acquisition. Not very impressive"
There seems to be a little bit more than the usual roll-and-move - despite being held to the luck of one's draw - in that speed is just the tie-break for who moves between 1 and 6 spaces: so you can 'win' the round with a 60MPH 'play' and move the same as winning it with a 170mph play. And 50p is pretty good value for a smartly-presented piece of history from the UK's infamous "long, hot Summer"**.
*also, for the longest time, a key element of Cockney rhyming slang.
- [+] Dice rolls
It is with great pride that I announce the English language reprint of Lux Aeterna under the safe and honourable umbrella of Capstone Games:
The folks are running a pre-order during the last two weeks of July, should you be interested in getting it a bit earlier than the October retail release:
Slowly, but surely, I am getting the immense pleasure of working with the best publishers in the Industry!
P.S Keep an eye out for Lux promo cards doing the rounds too - you've seen them on this blog in the Past, of course!
- [+] Dice rolls
All the kids were over for Pa's Day - apart from Alice (eldest) who is journeying around Devon and Cornwall on a meditative/creative odyssey. Showingly-pregnant Katie was here too: baby Lyla bouncing around in utero and Benedict getting his first taste of 'the day'.
Those of us, in a chilly Newent (where HAS the sun gone?!), had no choice but to play back-to-back Mario Kart tournaments, eat lasagne/home-made truffle chocolates, watch Doctor Who and play board games:
Trying to avoid the heavier fayre, Benedict and Katie and Daisy and I raced through the excellent family favourite Eco-Links:
Race to complete paths that connect the animals - on the edge - to each other without dead-ends, 'go nowheres' etc.
Dynamic and fun, Eco-Links was Cédrick Chaboussit's gift to me at Spiel'18 - he has a habit of highlighting family-friendly hits that you might otherwise miss when prowling the Halls.
It was sheep racing next and, once again, my daft and tiny-boxed filler keeps winning fans:
For myself, the day presented a small-but-perfectly-formed collection of gifts:
...but a houseful of noise, laughter - and no little expectation (2 months to go) - was the best present of all*.
*mind you: that deluxe edition of MADI (signed by writer/director Duncan Jones) is a bloody close second!
- [+] Dice rolls
- [+] Dice rolls
Today is Father's Day: "a holiday of honoring fatherhood and paternal bonds, as well as the influence of fathers in society".
Yesterday, though, in an attempt to do nothing (but usefully so), I mowed the lawn but - halfway thru - the starter cable snapped: two thirds of the lawn was cleanly-shorn, the other third daisy-sprouting and unruly. Obviously, there's no way on the gods' wide Earth that I was going to leave it like that so: a trip to the local DIY centre for a socket spanner set and a replacement cable was required. In every department selling tools of some kind, there were suspended banners and standees proclaiming "The Perfect Gift For Father's Day!" and "Great for Dads!" and "Don't Forget Dad on Sunday 20th June!". Apparently, as a Father I am to be entirely considered as a pottering craftsman; obsessed with drills, strimmers, power washers and/or gas-powered barbecues. In the supermarket over the road, various War, Soccer and vehicle-based DVD documentaries awaited my species-male-who-has-sired-offspring attention. Thus...
Cashier: Good morning, Sir -
Customer: Good morn -
Cashier: - no, wait, shut your face: I haven't finished yet -
Customer: - oh -
Cashier: - Good morning, Sir; a-a-and a Happy Father's Day to you!
Customer: Well, um, thanks very much.
Cashier: I assume you are a Father, Sir?
Customer: Well, yes, I -
Cashier: Phew - that's a relief! Now: what can somebody's son (points to himself) do for a Father (points to the customer) on this most esteemed of days?
Customer: Well, I was looking for a new game and wondered what you might recommend?
Cashier: For you, Sir, the fertilizer of eggs, it would be a pleasure!
Customer: Are you alright?
Cashier: How about a miniatures war game, Sir? It's got guns and fighting and stuff PLUS you need to assemble the figures and paint them in your Shed on a Sunday afternoon prior to play. Sir.
Customer: Well, I do like painting - do you have any painting-themed games like, for example, Fresco or Starving Artists?
Cashier: "Painting themes", Sir? I'm afraid we only have such things as are suitable for Mothers and other females, Sir.
Customer: You have nothing in that vein at all?
Cashier: Not today, Sir. Not for the "Day of the Dad", so to speak.
Customer: Well, then; what have you got?
Cashier: We have various table-based golf products? The Top Gear Trivia Challenge? FIFA 2021: Das kartenspiele?
Customer: Have you got anything more 'Euro'-y?
Cashier: How about Meerschaum Pipeline? Star Wars: Outer Strim? Near and Father? Dad of Winter? Black & Decker Stories? Through the Garages? Glen Mower? Igloo Poppa? Otac!!! Père-to Rico? Pa-drenaline?
Customer: *tchoh* Those aren't real games at all! They're just an excuse to list out a whole lot of puns!
Cashier: Caught me bang to rights; mea culpa and so on.
Customer: pointing up Then: you'd better go to your room and think about all the trouble you've caused.
Cashier: Yes, Sir. (he leaves, muttering under his breath) motherfucker
Customer: I heard that and, strictly speaking: yes.
- [+] Dice rolls
Another long week in front of the laptop and - courtesy of various process flow diagrams - wrestling a detailed spreadsheet of user stories into some sort of shape prior to bulk loading. After all that, you'd think I'd be chomping at the bit for games in Jobbers' garden but - come 6PM, with dinner ordered but tardy - I felt all of the enthusiasm drain away. Instead, I printed off some new pages for mine & Matt Dunstan's Polygonia prototype and hid myself away in the spare room to cut-and-stick until the chips arrived.
As it transpired, dinner was VERY late so we sat - plates resting on knees - to watch Episode 13 of Season 1 of the 'new' Doctor Who (Christopher Eccleston): Arthur is playing catch-up (from the start of the modern era) as he missed out the first time on account of not being born yet. It's an odd relaunch series when viewed 'in toto'; the whole thing is set in it's own closed environment with back references and settings between the episodes - the most obvious one being the 'Bad Wolf' meme. It's funny and silly, the acting is a bit wayward in places but the whole thing bounces along effervescently; indeed, when Eccleston passes the baton to Tennant, you can't help but feel a bit emotional. And Captain Jack is likeable too (at this point).
Flitting to 'main TV' to decide what to watch next, we caught a glimpse of the England v Scotland match: sluggish and evidently - even at the start of the second half - heading for a wholly-disappointing (and not entirely unexpected) draw. If you wandered into the garden at any point, you could hear the shouts and near-miss 'Whoa!'s of BBQ parties and The King's Arms watching on big screens. Restless, I tried reading a chapter or two of 'XX' (Rian Hughes) but soon returned to the belly of the Living Room for TV comedy.
Saturday dawns - cool and grey - with nothing in particular on the schedule; after a couple of consecutive visitor weekends, we've got the time and the place to ourselves again and - like last night - I'm buggered if I know I'm going to do with it.
Go out - but where?
Stay in - and do what?
- [+] Dice rolls
18 Jun 2021
A trio of fighty things for the Museum's stock this week:
Confrontation - numbered just 2341 in the BGG database, so one one of the earliest residents here - has large hex tiles and all-the-rage 1970s plastic pieces (including the 'bullets' familiar from other games in the same period):
For a fuller overview, I'll point you HERE but, in summary, it's a written order area-controller with a pre-programming element: Robo-rally meets Diplomacy!
This one has a pretty good reputation and even has an article to itself in The Games & Puzzles Book of Modern Board Games - I already have the book but a photocopy of the article came with the game as well.
More recognisable - but not the one you might think it of - is this 1980s movie tie-in from Parker:
Dune (no.680 in the db!) is a family-friendly beat-each-other-up summarised as follows:Quote:Based on the movie, this version of Dune features photos of the stars on pawns divided into teams of three. Each character has its own strength and guile values.Like Confrontation, this looks to be eminently-playable by a modern audience; indeed, 'The Contrarian' provides an optimistic review HERE.
Players can move around the outer desert spaces to harvest monetary units of spice or can move around the inner castle spaces to build up strength.
Players can use spice to buy random equipment cards, spice harvesters, or extra boosts of guile when under attack. Players can also invest in the craps-like commodity markets that pay off on certain dice rolls.
The artwork is slick, the rules are relatively simple...and games go fairly quickly since all fights are to the death
This copy is a very clean copy - likely never played - and still has a publisher's advertising leaflet (likely never unfolded!):
Look at what else the discerning sci-fi fan could get their hands on - Part 1: Care Bears?! Cabbage Patch Kids?!
Look at what else the discerning sci-fi fan could get their hands on! - Part 2: More 'traditional' on this side.
For the last item, I was pointed to an eBay auction for the board, only, for the Dennis Wheatley game I'm missing: Invasion. A second copy, sans pieces, is also currently 'on its way' to Newent (thanks to the generosity of blog reader Alexander Freudenthal), so I have a backup as well:
A deliciously-detailed map; however, the city names cheapen the "serious military atmosphere" somewhat:
Manur? Lizzie? Spit and Polish? Canobier?!
All told, here's one for the (look but don't touch) display cabinet and a couple for 'open table play' shelves in the MoBGaG.
- [+] Dice rolls