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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He marched them up to the top of the hill...

Anthony Boydell
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Newent. Glos
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We congregated at the Snowdon Mountain Railway station (Llanberis) though, of course, we would not be availing ourselves of it's steam driven delights this time.



Setting off on the path - all unknowing of what was to come.



Right: this is the official start...after a thigh-weakening uphill road climb #alreadytired



The map of our route!


From the sunshine in to the clouds!





Eerily silent near Clogwyn.






You saw the main summit pics yesterday...



Here we all are IN the cafe at the top: hot pies, sugary drinks and steaming the mist off of our coats.


...now we're making our way back down:






Trains! Yes, there were TRAINS!!!



THE Moel Siabod!



"Yeti" (apparently)




And, finally, a majestic closing shot:


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Today 6:45 am
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21 Points!

Anthony Boydell
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More pics soon because I am absolutely knackered!



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Wed Aug 15, 2018 6:30 am
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Today, I shall be mostly...

Anthony Boydell
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...walking.

And walking.

And walking.

And walking!



I haven't been up since 1974.

I brought my Surveyor with me.

I am so excited I could, literally, puke!

gulp
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Tue Aug 14, 2018 6:30 am
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But soft?

Anthony Boydell
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Yesterday we went to a ruined castle*.

It was ace.

The original layout is utterly perfect for my re-engineering of The Black Overcoat Game.

Did I say it was ace? Because it was!












But soft, what light from yonder window breaks?
It is the East and Juliet is the su-

Er, no; hang on...
it’s just a cock-and-balls.
Oh.
#shakespearewouldloveit #statelygraffiti #hedgehogcastle

http://gwrychtrust.co.uk/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gwrych_Castle


*early 19th century castle-style home aka a monstrous, elaborate and wonderful fairy-tale folly
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Mon Aug 13, 2018 6:50 am
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I heard it through the grapevine?

Anthony Boydell
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It seems that I am always the last to know.



Trying to find out more, but...if it ain't (print) ready then it ain't (print) ready.

soblue

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Sun Aug 12, 2018 6:45 am
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There's plenty more fish in the sea.

Anthony Boydell
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Newent. Glos
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I've been banging on about it for ages now so I suppose I'd better give it a formal review: Nusfjord or "You're gonna need a bigger boat!". Obviously, I don't normally 'review' anything; I might mention something in passing AND/OR provide a simplistic summary as part of a session report AND/OR pronounce my general approval or disapproval BUT I can't recall ever having sat down and composed a proper, considered appraisal. Why, then, should now be the time? For a number of reasons and here they are:
I have now played it >40 times
I have played it at all of the player counts
I don't feel like stopping any time soon.



Additionally, I have been fortunate enough to access a whole series of feted prototype expansions which, in their theme and variety, transport me back to the heady days of 2007/2008 when it's grandpappy - Agricola - first tickled my gaming nuts and blew softly in my gaming ear!

The framework of Nusfjord is comfortingly-familiar: worker placement where one collects and spends resources and a little bit of board management. With only the three resources available - fish, wood and gold coin - the web of possibilities is spun. Because wood and gold are, effectively, secondary goods; the competition to get them is always heated - be it via the acquisition of personal action spaces (elders), card combinations and/or share-dealing.

If you've experienced Glass Road then much of Nusfjord will be straightforward: the focus in both are the buildings - rich in VPs and tricks. Unlike Glass Road, however, there is no unbearable hidden card selection horrorshow; no, the agonizing choices lay out in the open for all to see. This is no multi-player solitaire; you will ALWAYS be stepping on someone else's fins toes as you go about your fishy business: fishing for fish, consuming fish, paying fish and serving fish.



Saying that, you can buck the thematic hammer and win Nusfjord perfectly well without fishing beyond your paltry starting ability (the 'Catboat'); you can, instead, invest in other players' endeavours and subsist on a regular dividend. You can ignore the perceived 'standard opening moves' (sell a share, take an elder) and drop straight in to cheap buildings or forest management depending on what cards have been dealt to the opening tableau. Satisfying combos are plentiful and you will be well-rewarded for "doing what everyone else isn't": I have seen (and been) a player exploiting a full Reserve, no reserve at all, ship-building, ship-ignoring, forest decimation and a gerontophiliac obsession with Elders.



Nusfjord is another milestone in Uwe Rosenberg's oevre in that it boils all of his worker placement ideas and mechanisms in to a match-fit, all-killer-no-filler, forty-five minute, 'Feast'-free fantasy: it's so frigging tight it squeaks! Nothing is superfluous, no element is an indulgence; this is a game that's pure in the challenge it presents. The fact that it emerged in to the light of our notice just before Spiel 2017 - no information, no hype - only adds to the sweet aftertaste; that it was unavailable outside of Europe until the Spring of this year also allowed its reputation (the word of mouth recommendations) to grow.



Don't be fooled by the cynical, the dismissive and/or the ill-informed: play Nusfjord yourself and discover the Best New Classic Euro of the last 10 years (apart from Snowdonia, natch)!
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Sat Aug 11, 2018 6:30 am
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Big Yellow Taxi

Anthony Boydell
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Now, I may be reading things into it and seeing things that aren't there but watching Gary's intro to the Ragnar Brothers' latest promotional video - titled in the YouTubes as "The Romans - The last roll of the dice for the RBs" - made me feel enormously sad. Especially when he opens the overview with "...to tell you a little bit about what may be our least game..."



Perhaps most famous for the classic History of the World, many people have never realised that it's actually an autobiographical game: they have been around for THAT long - civilizations have risen-and-fallen while they got us all mania-ed about canals and moulded up those amusing 'flashing' monk-eeples in Monastery. It matters not whether your donkey is steam-powered or 'au naturelle', the 'Rags' (as no one calls them ) have been fighting the good gaming fight for almost three millennia and the thought of not having their I.K. Brunel-costumed personages cheerfully halloo-ing one across the Trade Halls fills me with melancholy.

In today's noisy, chrome-obsessed hurricane of puffery and short attention spans, the RB's brand of 80s-style chit-and-die histories-in-a-box / gentlemanly Euros have been receiving short-shrift. So, here's the deal: if you like medium-weight Euros with a classical fight-y edge, why not give them a shout and see if you can scrounge a play-test copy/a demo and give The Romans some of your time and love?

You don't know what you've got 'til it's gone...
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Fri Aug 10, 2018 6:35 am
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The WTF?-le Brothers

Anthony Boydell
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To me, to you...to WHERE?!


Still no news on Fraser, Gordon and their magnum opus* of Aardmanian proportions and we're fast approaching what will be the third Essen Spiel without the Lamont bros. With the rate the Spiel is expanding - almost in proportion with the Fragor Games' game boxes themselves - they'd be hard pushed to find a space in Duisberg let alone Essen itself...unless that ENORMOUS new Messe frontage is being custom-built for the display copy?

As someone who blog-blurts out any piece of news at the drop of a hat (because I get so excited I just can't help myself**), it feels an oddly self-eviscerating move to go for nigh-on two years without a single peep, press release or micro-update; there's no game entry in the BGG DB and it was 2015 that their website last got a refresh! A loyal following they have, for sure, but are they enough to power a Kickstarter campaign to splendid fruition? Is the (Oscar winning) Wallace & Gromit license strong enough to attract an international crowd in sufficient quantity?

In short, where the Grand Day Out-ing, Wrong Trouser-ed, Closely-Shaved, Matter of Loaf and Death fuck are they?! The silence (like that mountain from A Game of Gnomes) is crushing!

*almost EVERYTHING is 'magnum' from the boys TBH
**in hobbygame circles, this is known as 'Premature e-Circulation'
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Thu Aug 9, 2018 6:35 am
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TNG

Anthony Boydell
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We've been playing a lot of The Black Overcoat Game recently and aside from everyone managing to win at least one session...



...Arthur and Benedict have been re-designing the odd bit-and-piece. It's great: already we've sorted the set up (so it encourages more varied exploring) and they're designing new cards to go in to the main deck e.g. 'UFO' ("Move to any location in the house or grounds immediately but discard all of your objects in play at the location you have just left"), 'Carpet of Lego' ("cannot enter/pass thru a location without taking damage")!

#prouddad #wheresmeroyalties? #yourdarlingskillyou!
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Wed Aug 8, 2018 6:30 am
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The Prodigal (Grand)Son(s)

Anthony Boydell
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How very odd indeed to be browsing the streets and shops of North Wales without having just come from/about to go in to work! The plan was to make our way over to Conwy for lunch and then pootle about the castle, the ramparts and the surrounding country park with the kids and the dog and the In-Laws until tea-time; those not wanting to visit the Snowdonia Dragons would then return to the house leaving me (for deffo) with a micro-car and an IKEA bag full of games for a-playin'. As plans go, it was a fine one but by 4PM everyone had aching legs and rumbling tums so we left early. We're only about 20 miles away from 'the old haunts', so I grabbed a handful of fruit and set off back to The Mulberry with Arthur and Benedict in tow; we arrived on the dippetty-dot of 1830HRS, the official 'start' of this hidden treasure of a club.

To warm things (ie. Arthur) up, we started with the splendidly-daft Flicky Spaceships:


(PRISMA fixes many blurred sins)


In summary: Pick up a resource matching the colour of the hex your ship's 'Nose' is pointing in then flick your ship to somewhere else (preferrably to a hex of a colour you need) then, if poss, buy an upgrade card. Upgrade cards give you veeps and a special ability.

It's no more complicated than that and, for 30 minutes or so, it provides straightforward, no-nonsense fun. Tim, sporting his ever-growing and impressive sideburns, sneaked ahead of Benedict to claim the victory (and the sorest flicking nail)!

Next, because the other tables weren't ready to reset yet, was Nusfjord; an alterior motive here, of course, as Benedict had yet to play this Tony Favourite: the idea being that he, Arthur and I will be able to play this back at the house if/when the rain sets in!



Benedict did very well in his debut, impressively without penalties and sitting on a back-pattingly robust 32 points. Arthur triple-schoonered and forested up his entire board save a small utility building and a whopping Stronghold amongst the trees for 28 points. Tim was, unfortunately, diddled out a couple of lucrative buildings (by me) and a couple of gold in a final round 'filling of the plates' (by Benedict), losing him a potential 20 points (ouch!). I filled my board (see above) for...well, count it up yourselves!

Arthur sat with Yvonne and Daffydd (who are getting married in a couple of weeks time: the club's second 'wedding', I believe) and watched them playing some dungeon crawler or other; while he enjoyed the miniatures, four of us (me, Aaron, Denise and David) settled in to Q.E.: something I've been hoping to try for a while now:



In summary: The start player sets a (ANY) price for a tile; each tile has a straight VP value plus a flag and industry icon. A player's own flags can score for them, in sets, at game end as can monopolies/diversity in industries. The other players then secretly bid for the tile - knowing the 'seed price'; the start player reviews the bids (still in secret) and awards the winning bidder the tile but making sure to write the winning bid - in secret - on the back of the tile ie. no-one apart from you knows exactly how much you've spent. At the end of the game, add up all points and then reveal the backs of one's won tiles: whomever spent the MOST money automatically LOSES (!), whomever spent the least gets 6VPs.

Monstrously-simple and simultaneously tense and hilarious, QE ("Quantative Easing") is a triumph of an auction game! Denise went bid-crazy and disqualified herself from the laurels, leaving a previously-profligate David to triumph. I simply MUST get a copy of this for the Ross-on-Wye crowd as it's utterly perfect for our blend of sniping bonhomie! Superb!

The sun-having-set left a delicious blue-green nightglow over the estuary as we were joined by Arthur and Benedict for the evening's closer: Stock hold'em.



In summary: It's sort-of share dealing with Texas Hold 'Em resetting the share prices between rounds(!). Buy/sell shares then play out cards from your hand to build (or destroy) the poker hands growing against each of the six (aquatic animal-themed) companies. At the end of the round, prices for the shares are adjusted according to the poker hand and then a second - final round - is played. Sell all shares at the end and most money is the winner.

A curious artifact of a game, for sure. Denise salvaged her reputation for financial acumen by running away with this in the reckoning. Arthur was pleased to have 'bigged up' his favourite Dolphin Co. and was only a tickle behind the rest of the scores.

How marvellous to see Tim, Aaron, Daffydd, Yvonne, Ed, Tom, Denise, David and Dan again; we're hoping to make it along next Monday as well - maybe with a few more peeps in attendance (the house will fill up even more this coming weekend) - so, if you happen to be in the area, why not stop by as well?
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Tue Aug 7, 2018 11:12 am
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