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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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Stop Making Census

Anthony Boydell
United Kingdom
Newent. Glos
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Ok, it's been a while and I want to pull out the blog's dipstick and see if it's reservoir needs topping up*. If you could spend a little of your precious time, please? Your opinion is important to us blah blah blah yadda yadda etc...

Poll
1. How often do you visit the Shed?
Never go near the place, myself.
Occasionally (when it links to a game I like).
I only read the posts that appear in the Blog 'Hot' Top 10.
I am a subscriber (or should that be 'SHED-scriber'?).
I am Tony and this is my shed.
2. Where are you located (for a significant percentage of the time)?
The United Kingdom
The United States of America
Western Europe incl. the Mediterranean and Scandinavia
Easter Europe / Former USSR
Africa
Asia
Australasia
Pangaea Ultima (I am a regular traveller in time)
3. Have you ever met Tony 'for real'?
No.
No, but I'd like to / am planning to at the next UKGE/Essen Spiel
Yes but, for legal reasons, I cannot talk about it.
Yes.
I am Tony (but I've never been to me).
4. Should Tony do his own podcast?
No.
Yes.
5. Have you read ALL of the Shed blog posts (right back to 2011)?
No.
No, but I plan on catching up sometime.
Yes.
6. Are you:
a woman
a man
gender non-specific (get with the program, Tony; this is the 21st century FFS!)
experienced? (one for Hendrix fans out there!)
7. Do you like Polls?*
(this is not a thinly-veiled Brexit swipe)
No; in fact, I refuse to participate.
Occasionally (but not this time).
Yes.
      171 answers
Poll created by tonyboydell


Poll
Supplementary: Where are you from if not mentioned in the previous 'Where are you from?' question?
Canada.
South America.
Antarctica/The Arctic.
Vatican City.
Lilliput.
Burgundia.
      21 answers
Poll created by tonyboydell


Poll
(*mutter* *grumble* Supplemental answers for the 'Have you ever met..?' question *tut* *whinge* *hurrumph*)

Have you ever met Tony 'for real'?
I have seen him across a crowded room/convention centre (but he didn't notice me).
I follow in him constantly (but at a discrete distance).
I am an agoraphobic and consider answering this Poll question a formal introduction.
No, but I have posters of him on my wall.
Sorry. I thought this was Stu Burnham's blog. Good day to you.
      43 answers
Poll created by tonyboydell


Thank you for your feedback!!!



*I also need to lighten up with the italicization!
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Today 6:40 am
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They saw this and thought of me

Anthony Boydell
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When I got in from work on Thursday, there was a package on the Library room table that I was told to 'leave alone' until Arthur had joined me. He and Mrs B had been out-and-about that morning - something to do with haircuts - and had drifted in to a Charity Shop:



At first glance, its 1990s-style presentation hints at the bane of the British mass market industry: the trivia game. However, this is a roll-and-move affair with no Q&A whatsoever...and the vagaries of the d6 aside, it looks like a pleasant little race game.


In the spirit of the Theme (and sub-title), the classic British railway networks are represented on this attractive board.


In summary: A number of Souvenir cards are dealt to each player (each corresponding with Place of Interest on the map board: the bigger circles); simply be the first player to have moved around the board and 'visited' these locations and return to London to win. However, changing rail networks (they're colour-coded on the board) causes 'Hazard' cards to be drawn...


The rulebook: 1/4 rules, 3/4 background and history!


It used to be a running joke that 'Dad' was getting obsessed with trains but it seems that some of my romantic wistfulness is rubbing off!


Souvenirs & Hazards - can you spot my card?


To add a little frosting, the requisite components have been supplemented with a number of die-cast metal Thomas the Tank Engine miniatures; all-in-all, a lovely surprise!


Not part of the actual game but they came in the box!
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Sun Aug 28, 2016 6:45 am
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I love lamp.

Anthony Boydell
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WRT the Ross-on-Wye club, there was some doubt as the presence of Boffo and Smudge this week on account of them moving house: from the 'earthy' delights of the 'slightly-neglected housing estate' box-terrace to the rural pleasures of a countryside bungalow (or should that be 'FUN-galow'?). There was a distinct possibility that - thanks to the standard form dickery of Solicitors/Conveyancers - they'd not have anywhere to rest their heads come Friday and have all their belongings parked up in a Herefordshire lay-by until the Legal-types managed to pull their well-manicured thumbs out of their bleached arseholes. Fortunately, this was not so and there would be no consequent need for me to go on any kind of triggered rant: *phew*

(for some reason I imagined their moving process to be somewhat akin to Messrs Hardy and Laurel - see the end of this blog - and it pleased me greatly to imagine Boffo wheezing his giant trolley of board games up a precipitous stairway only to have a 'Treasure Chest of Dominion' slide off and clonk him in the conk to the sound of a clown's car horn)

As it turned out, I arrived at the White Lion at the absolute optimum moment to grab a spacious parking space and found both Boffo and Smudge, tired-but-happy, slumped in the events room wingback armchairs. With nothing but half of a chicken and bacon pie in the fungalow, they needed to come out for food anyway and, though Smudge would be nipping off soon (she wanted to say 'hello'), at least one of the Batesons would be gaming: huzzah! Boffo's weary pseudo-snoring suggested that this might not go the full distance, however, as the poor chap was completely tuckered out: we'd take whatever we could get, then! Gary and Jobbers joined the fray - I really need a nickname for Gary* - and the four of us ('the lads') settled down to the serious business of running a comedy TV company:



Gil Hova's card-drafting, tableau-building distraction is appealing, hilarious and extremely simple to pick up: you basically have four types of card to pick from in order to create and run VP-earning shows. Shows can have their viewership improved by Actors and/or Advertising and everything can be jiggered about with the aid of the 'short cut' Network (bonus) cards. It's all about timing, of course, in all senses: getting the right shows in the right timeslots, for preference, and getting the right cards from the available pool before the other players get to them! It's a breezy, jolly and engaging puzzle where you need to keep a good eye on your aging (and viewer-declining) shows and have the next big thing ready to go and KEEP THOSE DAMN NUMBERS UP!


The ratings war: Aftermath - Moo TV (and Chief Exec 'Tiny' Boydell) reign supreme!


The Networks ended with a satisfying Boydellian victory after Jobbers had got a Seasons 1 & 2 flyer only, like Garrington, to lose momentum in the mid-game. Everyone - including Boffo (who seemed to have dropped off for forty winks on occasion)) - pronounced themselves impressed by this media-themed treat!

Jobbers had, for the first time in ages, brought along a (tatty, plastic) bag of games including Modern Art (Gazzup doesn't 'do' numbers), Blokus (Tony doesn't like abstracts much) and Cosmic Encounter (not at this time of night, FFS!); but it was his well-loved copy of Puerto Rico that caught the eye and made it, without any objection, to the table:



For some reason, Boffo seems to think I have taken agin P.R but this is not so! I often find myself involved in every other game of it that's played in the Club, so always feel in need of a quick rules refresher ie. let's just get started and it'll all come back! As very much usual, the game was pushed forward by Boffonian and Jobbersian stratagems - and tactical advice to P.R noob Ga-Ga - but I kept myself on a steady (if unremarkable) path to edge in to a comforting second place behind the John: 55-43-42-42. Garrup pronounced himself 'well impressed' by this indisputable classic and will probably - because that's what he does when he likes a new-to-him game - buy himself a copy in the next day or so!

Although it was only 22.15, Boffo could fight his fatigue no further and departed; this also signaled 'going home time' for the rest of us. We may not have packed the session to it's nooks and crannies, but two deliciously-diverting Euros were enough to keep us more than happy for a few more days.

Now...scratch out the next 30 minutes and settle in to this timeless work of genius:



*Gaz? Gonzo? Garibaldi?

Poll
What should Gary's nickname be in the Shed blog?
Gaz?
Gazzington?
Garibaldi?
Gonzo?
Gary?
Garforth?
G-Dog?
Gasmask?
Teddy Ruxpin?
Other (please specify in the Comments)?
      96 answers
Poll created by tonyboydell
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Sat Aug 27, 2016 11:13 am
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Well THAT escalated quickly...

Anthony Boydell
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So this happened this morning; tagged on to a long thread about Scythe first plays and peoples' impressions thereof:



Well it was fun but I had to get eldest son out of bed to catch his bus; as of writing, these bits of the thread have now been deleted and I am still a member of the group (as far as I can tell).



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Fri Aug 26, 2016 12:32 pm
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Geekémon Go

Anthony Boydell
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There's a gap in the market that needs URGENT filling; now, I _used_ to do coding (a long time ago) but I'm more of a 4th Gen language/procedural type of chap not this OO stuff that, frankly, does my head in. So someone much more skilled needs to take this forward while I lie back and take the Glory...


Geekémon Go
It's Pokémon Go but with Board Game Geeks...plotting/finding Geeks in a Google-mapped virtual world!


Functions:
Alerts...when other G-Go!ers are in the vicinity PLUS some 'catch' element (why say hello when you can flick a pretend die at them?)

My Geekémon Go - let's you set up a BGG login, fetches your avatar, current microbadges and so on:
- preferences:
- Are you find-able by other Geeks using Geekémon Go? Yes/No
- Show your exact location = Yes/No (No = within 500m)
- Automatically add players within 5m to game play logs? Yes/No

Show Geeks – plot active G-Go! users on a 3D map and show their username/avatar as a spinning frame. Clicking the frame shows their Geek summary and accesses further functions:
- Set/unset miscellaneous flags such as “We have met”, “We have played a game together”, “We have traded” and so on
- Set/unset as a Geekbuddy back in BGG
- Message: an interface to Geekmail functionality

Find a Geek – enter a BGG username and - if they’re “Find-able" (see above) and their phone is on, plot a Google maps route to their location!

Log a Play – Same as the BGG function but can add players who are within 5m automatically (see above)

Check In – time and GPS stamps of when/where you are and you can give it the name of a Convention/gathering/exhibition/club etc. This is added to a global list that others can use ie. equivalent to Facebook’s ‘Check In’ functionality if you've marked it as ‘Public’, otherwise only available to you.

Show Nearby Check Ins – all Check ins within X kilometres of the current location OR a given location.

What additional functions can we add to make this the Must Have! app hotness for a Geek Christmas? Oh, and who's going to help me build it?
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Fri Aug 26, 2016 6:30 am
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I always knew that I was 'cool'...

Anthony Boydell
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Newent. Glos
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The Boydell Glacier (64°11′S 59°4′W) is a glacier on Trinity Peninsula in northern Graham Land. It is about 9 miles (14 km) long, flowing southeastward from Detroit Plateau to enter Sjögren Inlet in Prince Gustav Channel, north of the terminus of Sjögren Glacier and 6 miles (10 km) west of Mount Wild.



It was mapped by the Falkland Islands Dependencies Survey from surveys (1960–61), and named by the UK Antarctic Place-Names Committee for James Boydell, English inventor of a steam traction engine, the first practical track-laying vehicle:


(obviously I knew about this...)




With a bit more rooting about, ie. Wikipedia-hopping, one can find one of the Southernmost railways on the Falkland Islands: The Camber Railway. Now, if I were to make Stanley Harbour (aka Port Stanley) a station in Snowdonia, it's distance would require that I have approximately 400 Track cards followed by approximately 83,000 'Canal' Track cards (like the ones in Snowdonia: The Daffodil Line)! So that's out but then I saw a picture of the 'train' that ran on the narrow gauge track - complete with 'hand painted' carriage labels:


The loco has 'Falkland Island Express' handwritten on the tank. The wooden wagon bodies carry removable
seats at each end for workmen. The 1st class, 2nd class, 3rd class, and 'Smoker' legends, not to mention that on
the loco's tank, seem to imply that the whole thing was seen as a bit of a joke.


and it gave me an idea ("Of course it bloody did, Tony!"):



Whenever you bring your 3rd worker out of the Pub, take an available-to-work worker from each other player and put them on this card in any order you like. The turn order for placement is now the order shown on this train until your next turn (players take their next worker from this card).

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Thu Aug 25, 2016 6:25 am
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Brag Week

Anthony Boydell
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Once upon a time, Reiver Games was going to publish a humorous, fantasy-themed card game and bits of Surprised Stare Games Ltd (not me) got to play-test an early version; they - the 'bits' - were very excited about it and we all settled back to wait for its release. Several months later, Jack of Reiver Games shut the company down and the rights to this card game were suddenly up for grabs! Having heard the overview, and the tireless praise heaped upon it from peeps I trust, I suggested we grab it as an SSG release ASAP...but we were too late! Dammit!

And so, in 2011, Braggart appeared from Spiral Galaxy Games though with the slenderest of slender links to SSG through the Paull's daughter - Vicky - doing all the artwork. I secured my copy, as did many of our friends and associates, and it deservedly won 'Best Card Game' at that year's UK Games Expo. The regular blog followers amongst you will know, of course, that I have been banging on about how much fun the Ross-on-Wye gamers have had with Braggart for all of the intervening five years: it's a gem, it's a treat...it's genius in a little box!



Long out of print, and hard to find, this shining star of 'end of the evening closers' is coming back in a new and revitalized version through the medium of Kickstarter; naturally, I pledged as soon as the email plopped into my Inbox:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/spiralgalaxygames/bragg...

Make no mistake: this is extraordinary value for an extraordinary game! Pledge now, my friends, and you - too - can share your encounters with Simon the Lonely Ogre in the same reverential tones as we do!



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Wed Aug 24, 2016 6:25 am
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Pretty Vacation-t

Anthony Boydell
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Some smug bastards (yesterday)


Wow! It’s all gone a bit quiet around here, hasn’t it? Looks like everyone’s off on their holidays and NOT checking BGG while they’re there! To be honest this seems inexcusable in an age of Free WiFi: one thing you can be sure of is a branch of Barstucks or DcMonalds that pretends it’s all business enabled so professional types can work online whilst simultaneously sucking down fat and sugar. Mind you, squinting at your iPhone whilst scratching your speedos on a Portuguese beach filled with buxom 18-30s is likely to get you banged up in a cracked, insect-ridden slammer!

Of course, I’ve already been on my holiday and can only watch, jealously, as cheery Facebook statii scroll by: “Yes! We made it to the airport!”, “THIS is our view for the next fortnight!” and “Does anyone know the Greek for ‘Can I buy some fresh yoghurt please?’”.

Actually, this reminds me of a joke: three young lads go to a fancy dress party where the theme is ‘Emotions’; they knock and wait until the host answers. Presently, the host opens the door and sees that all three of them are completely naked apart from
- the first lad has his penis in a bowl of crème caramel;
- the second lad has his penis in a Pyrus communis; and,
- the third has painted himself completely the colour of jade and is holding a couple of large, cardboard consonants.

This is an ‘emotions’ party” the host complains, “What are these costumes about, then?”.

The third lad pipes up: “Well, I'm Green with N.V, he’s fucking disgusted and he’s come in despair.

*bomp*tish*
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Tue Aug 23, 2016 6:30 am
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For Your Information

Anthony Boydell
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Fascinating; an insight in to the workings of the British railway network:



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Mon Aug 22, 2016 6:25 am
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Graduation Day

Anthony Boydell
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"Sweet are the uses of adversity" quoth Duke Senior but, to be honest, he had a lot more on his plate at the time than the Boydell household did yesterday. Dog needed exercising, hair needed cutting* and children needed entertaining regardless of the cold rain that had been falling since the Dawn.

Dog session 1: Macintoshed and booted, I stood on the puddling patio and lobbed alternate orange balls for an enthusiastically-panting Ziggy.

With the canine suitably knackered, me and the boys bimbled over to Ross-on-Wye in Mrs B's Nissan Micra - barely room for the long-legged lads / Mrs B is still in Guildford with my car - and spent a damp-but-happy couple of hours shopping for boy stuff, drinking coffee and being a bit daft. As they were consuming their own body weights in paninis, my phone 'ting-ed' with a message from Ben 'Boffo' Bateson: Smudge had been called away on urgent family business and "...would anyone be available for the wet Saturday afternoon games?" Today's plot offers no surprises at this point...

We got back with half an hour until Ben is due to arrive, so I take the mutt in to the back garden:

Dog Session 2: It's humid but not raining, so I stood on the stained-damp patio and launched alternate orange balls for an effervescently-frantic Ziggy.

After Arthur's happy Agricolean debut yesterday, he was keen to play it again or preferably - given Ben was coming over and Benedict was at a loose end - 'the real version' instead:


90 minutes in and final scoring commences...


The Family version had provided an excellent introduction because it was all still fresh in his mind and that left Occupations ('people who you can pay to help you on your farm'), Minor Improvements ('basically more of those square tiles that you were building to make food yesterday but they do other cool things') and vegetables ('they're like grain only better...and pumpkin-shaped') to explain! Arthur did, naturally, still need some guidance - ie. to keep him from doing totally daft and/or unnecessary things - but, in general, he followed his own path:


Arthur's final (24 point) farm board; for the second time in two days, Arthur beat his elder brother! Continuing a bit of run, I once-again kept Boffo at bay 46-40-24-20.


Benedict was off planning a trip to pal Peter's and Arthur wanted to play some Minecraft, so that left Boffo and me to get stuck in to one of his favourites-du-jour and one of my too long languishing on the shelfs: Ora et Labora


187 (Boffo) to my 178.


It's a fiddly-chitted beast like it's Daddy Le Havre, but plays in about a third of the time and was extremely engaging and fun; the path from Le Havre through Ora Et Labora to Glass Road, in conjunction with the Agricola/Caverna/Arle branch, is a well-defined one and probably should be covered by an in-depth and learned dissertation some time**. Nevertheless, it's fascinating to see how Rosenberg refines, revitalilzes and reworks his oeuvre time-and-again.


Quiet mayhem...


Having tired of the TV, Arthur rejoined Boffo and I for a closing-the-session, household favourite Thunder Road: us Boydells were a tad ungracious in eliminating Boffo from the chase early on (and then trashing the rear board to prevent him from repairing any of his wrecks) but it was grizzled old Pa who proved finally-victorious! Ben departed, Arthur went to read some more of his book and I took the canine in to the garden for some exercise:

Dog session 3: Linen shirted (top-button undone and sleeves rolled up), I stood on the warming patio in the sunshine and chucked alternate orange balls for a dartingly-bouncy Ziggy.

*not mine, obvs
**not by me, obvs
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Sun Aug 21, 2016 11:00 am
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