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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Strapped for cash..?

Anthony Boydell
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Newent. Glos
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...is one way to raise money (!) We can't all spunk fat gobbets of legal tender up the figurative curtains of our FLGS OR - gasping with relief - expel a fat, painful currency turd in to the metaphorical basin of the BGG Marketplace: no! Some of us just don't have the money to buy all of the games all of the time so, with such pauperesque hand-to-mouth-ers in mind, here's a list of cheaper/cut-price games suitable for the thinly-waged hobbyist:

- A Packed Lunch For Odin / Allotments of Arles
- Terraforming Ma's
- A Few Square Feet of (Artificial) Snow / Muck / A Study In Purest Green



- Half-a-Keyflower / 8oz Age
- Can Stop
- 4 Wonders
- Glory to Frome



- Grand Austerity Hotel / Lorenzo l'ordinario
- One Night Penultimate Werewolf
- Bora
- Gulo
- Above OR Below (you can't have both)
- Decaffeinated Coffee Roaster
- (Counter)FITS
- Pitch Car Boot / Xia: Legends of a Thrift System
- A Game of Thrones: Secondhand of the King / Hand-me-Downfall

Any more for any more?
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Today 6:45 am
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Water Water Everywhere

Anthony Boydell
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It was like driving through the heart of a storm cloud all the way to Bridgend and all the way back again: spray whiting out the windscreen. We managed to find a nice, tree-sheltered spot in the Asgardian camp - just over a tump from their 'longhouse' (see below) - and I was about to give eldest lad a hug goodbye (and £10 for the Bar) when I realised he'd disappeared: wandered off with his pal, Adam, to practice combat or somesuch. So I came home.



There was just enough time to warm up the curry leftovers from the previous night before Jobbers fair knocked the front door off its hinges and sent Ziggy the dog in to an excitable whirlwind of spins and bits of wee coming out. It was also the last day of the school term for Arthur so, with nothing but six long weeks of do as you please ahead of him, he watched Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 then joined us for some opening games:


The big, bright, brash and rather over-produced First edition of Peter Burley's excellent Kamisado


Jobbers was roundly thumped in game 1 but began to see the shenanigans and took the match 2-1; Arthur, ever gracious in defeat, wrought his revenge by digging out a succession of the noisiest games he could lay his hands on to distract J & me from another prototype run of (Snowdonia) Foothills: Dragster, Rebound, Operation and Ker Plunk*! We had to abandon Foothills, in the end, but not due to the rattling and shout-accompanied cacophony generated by the Arty/Mrs B end of the table BUT the arrival of occasional attendee Dan from Skenfrith. Skenfrith is about 20 miles away and accessible via some delightfully scenic-but-winding roads; I imagine this short-ish journey was made a little more 'interesting' by being flooded-to-buggery after the day's incessant downpour.

I wanted the three of us to get stuck in to something properly-chewy that would, normally, have been pooh-poohed by our Boffonian Overlord; Dan is (as you may recall) a huge fan of Agricola, so it seemed appropriate to introduce him to its bigger, tougher sibling:


Le Havre: an even more glorious mess than Agricola, when laid out in all its finery.


It was a very silent and subdued game and, for once, it wasn't Jobbers who was the slowest but he was certainly the quietest; this usually bodes ill with our cider-quaffing pal, it means he's not enjoying himself at all. He certainly seemed to be steering his way, rudderless, through the rounds; whilst I - and more noticeably Dan - were building buildings and setting up miniature combos, he seemed without any visible plan. I ended up scuttling myself when failing to get the (any) Steel Ship I'd been circling around; this cost me about 40 points, which would've made the final 180-112-92 reckoning a little less comprehensive a thumping! Job done, though; Dan declared it (as well as himself) a winner!

To close, it was out with the penguins:



*my original 1967 edition copy...as old as me, it is!
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Sat Jul 22, 2017 9:36 am
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My Daddy

Anthony Boydell
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This was brought to my attention by the most excellent Mr Stuart Burnham. I share it with you today because I'm off travelling (taxi-ing): taking my eldest son to a LARP weekend in Bridgend.

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Fri Jul 21, 2017 6:40 am
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"If the crowd are behind you, you're facing the wrong way"

Anthony Boydell
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(the quote is from renowned UK comic Simon Munnery; also this post contains pomposity, ill-formed argument and wild generalization in the hope of creating a whirlwind of controversy)

There is much talk, nowadays, of innovation in gaming; the desire, so we are told, is for new and interesting departures from the norm - for the never-before-seen. The old ways are done with; we're in the 21st century and must cast aside childish things; designers should not seek the instant approval of our audience but, instead, confound and challenge them at every turn.



This is scalding horsewater of the yellowest hue because Pandemic Legacy is just Pandemic with permanent marker pens and a 1960s sci-fi plot; 'Exit' et al are just The Adventure Game in a box and anything with an App is Electronic Detective*.

We don't desire (or deserve) innovation, we only THINK we do when - in fact - we just want more of the same of what we know we like as quickly (and regularly) as possible thank you very much.

Familiar,
re-purposed,
re-visited,
re-worked and
re-booted are the true order of the day; everything else is aspirational, pseudo-intellectual hogwash.

Concept cars always look great and exciting but you can't get a week's shopping for a family of 7 in to one of them; this similarly applies to the "groundbreaking"/"revolutionary" Magic Maze - the box is too small, you see, and the condensation from the refrigerated goods always makes the cardboard soggy.

I seem to have wandered off the point, somewhat, so rage hard in the comments section then go about your business. Thanks.

*a friend and I wrote a version of this on his Dad's Commodore Pet 80 (in 1980, oddly), printed it all off and typed it in to the school's Pet 40. It never ran properly after that, so we just went on to the playing fields for 30-a-side football.
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Thu Jul 20, 2017 9:20 am
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The Rodeo to Damascas

Anthony Boydell
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Newent. Glos
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Another curio from the travels of Phineas Boydell; this time it's a jigsaw - well, actually, it's FOUR jigsaws with very similar (but not the same) pictures of rodeos - that are all mushed together and the pieces then dealt out to each player.



Build your jigsaw then, in a sort of PIT meets 7 WONDERS drafting/passing frenzy, one swaps the useless bits for similarly (to the others) useless bits.



If you finish your jigsaw first - so it matches the image on the inside of your Dungeon Master-style player shield - then you are declared the winner! Everyone else grumbles on while you go and sort out the tea and crumpets.



Two quid this cost me - this oddity from the mid 1970s - and I feel that I should be able to do something with this rather splendid premise to bring it in to the 21st gaming century: cue the SdJ 2018!

#iwish #itprobablyhasafatpatent #theydidthatwithgamesbackthen
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Wed Jul 19, 2017 6:15 am
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"We were promised flying cars, instead we got suicidal robots"

Anthony Boydell
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Tue Jul 18, 2017 3:24 pm
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Consolation Schmonsolation

Anthony Boydell
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Spare a thought for those designers and publishers that were nominated for the SdJ but simply rolled in as runners-up. Not for them the glorious celebrations and dancing-in-between-the-seats on announcement day nor the much-dreamed of spike in sales that will see them transformed as an entity. Not for them the giant, themed booths at Essen Spiel or the fountain of praise (sparkling, fresh water) and admonishment (rusty brown and tangy) in the geek forums. Instead, the shaking head and the what might have beens. Ah, well.

Did you know, for instance, that the designer of 1987s also-ran My Monkey Is On Fire was so disenchanted he spent the next 25 years tracking down all of the copies sold, bought them back and then buried them in a landfill site?! In 2000, the horribly-overconfident publishers of the year's third-placer Würfel Zäpfchen (trans. "Dice in the Pipe") had to print 25,000 cardboard sleeves to make it look like a copy of Torres in the hope they could offload their over-printed stock. In 2007, a Reiner Knizia lookalike streaked across the stage - during the handing over of the giant dobber - in a protest against battery chicken farming or something or other. And we ALL remember what Stefan Feld had to put up with in 2013, don't we (it was three months before he could put on a hat)?!

So, while Bruno Cathala (above) takes a well-earned champagne bath - and Blue Orange Games talk to their financial advisors as to how to offload the forthcoming avalanche of cash against tax - just remember that the Ravensburger offices will be filled (to ear-puncturing volume) with weeping and the folks what done Magic Maze will be angrily - but non-verbally - hammering their big wooden knobs on the trestle tables until they splinter.

It's cruel, I know, but that's what we all signed up for I'm afraid #themsthebreaks
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Tue Jul 18, 2017 6:25 am
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Triskaidekaphobia

Anthony Boydell
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It was, indeed, most impressive that Roger Federer won his eighth Wimbledon Championship but more impressive than that was the patience of tens of thousands of Doctor Who fans who had to endure almost two hours of tick-tock sweaty ball twatting before they (we) finally found out who the 13th Doctor is to be:


Jodie Whittaker - The new (thirteenth) actor playing Doctor Who.

Federer dispatched Cilic in three straight, quick sets so many Blessings should be counted (after all, it could've been the full horror of a five-setter and no tie-breaker). The courteous brevity of the Federerian conquest has, therefore, given a few more hours of time for the usual bleating dissenters to bleat their dissent and the usual whirlwind of howling anti-mysogynists* beating up anyone who expresses a less-than effusive response**

For me? Well, I think it's great - not just because we finally get a female lead in this venerable series BUT because it now opens up some rich, hitherto unexplored avenues of storytelling. It also means my furious masturbation over Doctor Who has now been lent further legitimacy***!


*that's pretty much ALL of us here, isn't it?
**I am guilty of doing this. Sorry. I apologised to the chap on FB too.
***I typed that out loud, didn't I? Dammit!
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Mon Jul 17, 2017 6:20 am
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Gonwards

Anthony Boydell
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Last weekend I professed my great love for XTC and it was pointed out that their lead singer (and driving force) Mr Andy Partridge is a games fan/amateur designer. Well, naturally, I could not let that information go unacted upon and had a bit of a nosey around. Within just a few seconds, I happened upon the existence of Gonwards: a collaboration with Peter Blegvad which came in a sumptuous 'very limited box set presentation edition'. Within a similarly small few seconds, I'd placed an order and waved goodbye to the better part of £30 for this beauty:


Luscious and quirky pop and the spoken word: I listened to it all twice through without stopping on unpacking.



It comes with a deck of cards used in pseudo-Bingo fashion; all of the illustrations were done by Peter Blegvad and represent lyrical elements of the songs on the album.



Two cheeky - but very clever - chappies!


I suppose, if I wasn't so knackered, that I should put some sort of geeklist together: MUSIC THAT CONTAINS GAMES perhaps? A public service to bring these bringing together of these twin-artistic worlds together. Let's see what can be done after my first coffee of the day, eh?
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Sun Jul 16, 2017 6:50 am
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"...a partly functional but deranged individual."

Anthony Boydell
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Jobbers came over to play games at the house yesterday evening and, unusually for him, he came bearing a game box. It's usually around the time of his birthday that this cider quaffing RoW stalwart bothers to bring something (he doesn't have a large collection and what he DOES have he is fiercely keen on) but, tonight, he was excited to share a recent discovery with me (of which more, later). He'd also brought a tiny packet of pork scratchings and a bottle of alcohol-free wine; sweet Christ at the all-you-can-eat cold buffet but the latter was an appalling chemical syrup!

With the rest of the household out, the three of us - me, Jobbers and Arthur - opened the proceedings upon the dot of 1930HRS with Arthur's daft dice-rolling Expo acquisition: Luchador! Mexican Wrestling Dice.


(even the Referee took a pasting!)


Arthur talked the (trash) talk, he walked the walk and he slammed me repeatedly - face first - in to the table; Jobbers didn't come off much better: elbowed in the pancreas and pinned until he was counted out.

Ah-wunnuh! Ah-toowuh! Ah-three-uh!


For his reward, Arthur received the NWF (Newent Wrestling Federation) belt, a cup of warm milk and was sent to bed to do some reading.

Time for Jobbers and me to settle in to some one-on-one action, so - to warm things up - we played The Cousins' War:


Er...a Round 2 win for Lancaster?!


This was all over before it started: Jobbers focused on the the battles and failed to notice me seeding the regions directly with my command points. A timely triple-2 in the second battle saw me drop a lone troop to the Centre and we were finished! I'm slighty worried that Jobbers saw this as a more luck of the dice scenario as opposed to my intended 'fight on the two fronts' approach; he missed what I was setting up for and came a cropper as a consequence. This is a brilliant little game.

And so to Jobbers' own offering - and one that he was evangelising as a perfect two-player: Letters from Whitechapel.


(from L to R): He lurks in the shadows; hot on the trail; and, "Gotcha!"


Arthur sneaked in to the kitchen claiming he was "too awake to go to sleep", so he sat at the head of the table while I explained what was going on: In summary: Jobbers was Jack, I was the Metropolitan police. Jack moves around London, killing and hiding, whilst I look for clues as to where he - and his hidden base - might be/might have been through. 'Jack' needs to successful evade my attention for five murders - returning home after each - to win whilst I need to either catch him in transit ('Arrest') OR stop him from getting home in the alloted time (number of movement actions).

I played this many years ago with four others (see https://www.boardgamegeek.com/blogpost/2887/hell) and, while it was fun, it was nowhere near as intense, dramatic and cinematic as our game last night: it was BRILLIANT!

After the first murder (above middle), I clocked the direction of his fleeing and was able to narrow the secret base down to being somewhere in the middle; now that doesn't sound like much of an achievement BUT it's a bloody big board with a lot of spots on it! More successful tracking during the second murder confirmed my suspicions and then we entered the third phase: a double murder! The previous two, being singletons, means that one knows where the Ripper is starting from; with the double, us Coppers have to narrow that down as quickly as possible. It seemed that Jack was having a real rough time of it - though not as tough as Mary Ann Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride and Catherine Eddowes obviously - because I was, indeed, tracking him successfully: breathing down his neck and appearing - relentlessly - at every street corner or thoroughfare to impede his path! Arthur took on the role of my 'Chief': the sounding board for my theories and soaking up the rich atmosphere (and horrifying details) of the true story!

There was no escape, though, for the most wicked fellow: Officers Periwinkle and Brown heroically hunted and arrested the fiend within a single 'block' of his Hellish abode! In doing so, after the double murder, we also saved the life of Mary Jane Kelly who - in this now parallel Universe - had no understanding of her Fate Averted.

It really was (despite protestions) time for Arthur to go to bed (it was 10PM) and, to a diminished soundtrack of 'not fair' grumbles, we were joined by Alice (my eldest) for one last game:


Finca: a mouthwatering game.


We were on safer mancala-based/set collecting ground with this one and - as expected - Jobbers was able to focus his Euro-powers for a comfortable 57/49/46 win. Finca is a pleasingly-colourful, straightforward and tactile gem and provided a welcome come-down from the thrills of Victorian London: an absolutely-ripping evening of games.
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Sat Jul 15, 2017 10:34 am
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