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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Father's day

Anthony Boydell
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Newent. Glos
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It's Father's Day in the UK today and I just got this from the youngest one:



#proud #chipofftheoldblock #trains
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Sun Jun 19, 2016 10:32 am
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Bobbins

Anthony Boydell
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I managed to convey my pile of games 'twixt the car park and the Bar of the White Lion without getting them too wet: yet another day of Mediterranean baking bliss flip-flopping with drenching downpours for Gloucestershire and Herefordshire. No matter, for the Ross-on-Wye boardgamers or, at least, this week's representation thereof, were already seated and huddled over Legal documents pertaining to the forthcoming Batesonian domiciliary relocatative scenario; much flourishing signature action followed, particularly from John who looked like he was whitewashing the garden bloody fence. He nearly had Becky's eye out with his waggling elbow!

Aside from the usual suspects, young Garry had made the effort to join us this week which was marvellous; he's dead keen and has picked up the bug for buying himself a decent library of games. The only problem with that is, as we have seen to some extent with (much missed) Norm, never getting a chance to PLAY the bloody things subsequently! Tonight that would change in a pleasantly even-handed distribution of diversions:


A Grande Day Out


Five being the awkward number, there was a brief flash of Puerto Rico at the table to which I heavy-sighed; I love the game but didn't really fancy it at that moment. With hardly a breath taken, Ben immediately counter-proposed El Grande and had not even orally punctuated his suggestion before it was being unpacked and laid out!

After the woefully chaotic area majority mayhem that was Dominare a few weeks ago, it was a pleasure - nay, a joy - to be back in safe, 'classic' hands again. And, yes, El Grande has a mean streak but it's a transparent and up-to-you/in-your-control mean streak; oddly, Becky complained - only a little - about this at the denouement...even though the two meanest moves of the game had been perpetrated BY HER, AGAINST ME! John managed to keep himself ahead for almost the entire game and it was Becky's last round 'Veto' of my action that stopped me from catching him in the final scoring. A tremendously tense and exciting finish that, like other RoW favourites Princes of Florence and the aforementioned Puerto Rico, had us purring with contentment.

Garry was so taken with 7 Wonders the last time he dropped by that he picked up a cheap (£20!) copy from off of the Internets so, seeing as he'd made the effort to bring it along, we made the effort to play it with him. Despite our usual heckling of John's performance, he managed to pip an in-form Ben (who won the first) in the second game by just a couple of points...on the play of his final Age III card! I didn't take a photo because, frankly, there are enough pictures of 7 Wonders in the world though - given I've got a captioning theme, here's something from the BGG archive:


A Close Shave...between Ben & John (courtesy of aquarian)


Unsurprisingly, because I put this in the pile knowing Becky would be unable to resist, the last game - for me, at least, on 'pick up' duty - was the still-in-shrink Knit Wit:


The Wrong Trousers (loose tailoring link)


In summary: The bastard child of Codenames, Scattergories and Venn diagrams. Each turn, players will loop a coloured string (there are 8) around a placed spool and attach a randomly-drawn word to the peg at the end of that ring then they will place a new spool in a 'space' created by the overlain strings. When all strings and spools are placed, players must then come up with something for each spool that matchs the pegged words it's surrounded by eg. something 'dry' and 'sharp' elicited my extremely clever answer "My wit!". There is a voting mechanism for 'dodgy' answers and scores relate to a) being unique amongst all answers and b) how many strings surround the spool.

What a delightful, if massively-overproduced, treat this is, dear friends; it's a word game (which always impresses our erudite Club), it looks gorgeous and it allows for heckling banter (v. important indeed): a thumbs up all round from the 'guys'!

In other news, and to our immense relief, Byll has (finally) been located alive and well; I say 'located', what I mean is that he popped up on Facebook for a brief moment, typed something typically-cryptic and then disappeared again - oh, the worry!
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Sat Jun 18, 2016 10:29 am
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Dirty Rotten Scoundrels

Anthony Boydell
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Newent. Glos
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From the Guilds of London page:



This makes me feel sad because:
a) they aren't actually interested in playing it;
b) they have deprived two other people who really wanted to play it from playing it (although they may also have deprived two other people who really wanted to sell it on quickly for a profit from selling it on quickly for a profit); and,
c) the cynical predetermination hints at a less-than-optimal regard for the hobby.

Still, that's supply-and-demand for you.

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Fri Jun 17, 2016 11:45 am
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The Falls Guy

Anthony Boydell
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Newent. Glos
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Yes, indeed; once again the combination of sunshine and a long, scenic journey home had me swinging the old car off the beaten track (Thomas Telford's A5) for another exploratory diversion. This time, about a mile outside the village of Betws-y-coed:

Betws-y-Coed is one of the honeypot locations in Snowdonia. It lies in the Snowdonia National Park, in a valley near the point where the River Conwy is joined by the River Llugwy and the River Lledr, and was founded around a monastery in the late sixth century. In 1815, the Waterloo Bridge, built by Thomas Telford to carry the London to Holyhead road (now the A5) across the River Conwy and through the village, brought considerable transport-related development. The village became a major coaching centre between Corwen (to the east) and Capel Curig (to the west) on the Irish Mail route from London to Holyhead, which led to the improvement of the roads south to Blaenau Ffestiniog and north to Llanrwst and Conwy.

The Conwy Falls are, as the name implies, a natural water feature cut in to the valley; we're not talking Niagaran or Angel or Schaffhausen (Rhine) proportions, but it's impressive nonetheless. Depositing my £1 in the turnstile, I ambled through the long grass/wildflower meadow - still in my work togs - and in to the Fangorn-like woods:


Gate


Damp, slippy stones on the rough path threatened to do me an injury - work shoes ain't good at off-roading - but I made it to the main view point:


Falls


The Falls were roaring and an iron-tanged mist filled the air; you can also see the wonderful beer colour of the water (this new iPhone has an amazing camera on it!). There were 'Danger of Plummeting' signs everywhere (it wasn't THAT jeopardous, though; you _could_ climb down to the river if you really wanted) and rather-too-many collapsed 'protective' fences. No matter, I took the low path that followed the run-off:


Run off


...then back uphill, sweating in my collar-and-tie, through the gloomy trees:


Middle Earth in North Wales


There we are then: a very pleasant half-hour in the company of midges. My only other stop on the homeward journey this time was to get lunch in Llangollen - where I also nipped in to a pub to catch up on the Wales vs England soccer match and promptly saw Gareth Bale score his excellent goal!

I'm scheduled to go back to Llandudno - in a couple of weeks - and there's a little castle just outside Blaenau Ffestiniog that I've got my tourist eye on: it's a hard life, isn't it?
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Fri Jun 17, 2016 10:50 am
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16 Minutes!

Anthony Boydell
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Newent. Glos
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Thu Jun 16, 2016 9:19 pm
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Farmhotep

Anthony Boydell
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Newent. Glos
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Tuesday night is a barren period for board gaming in Llandudno so I'd normally have nipped off to the cinema and then for an all-you-can-eat buffet Chinese supper. This week, however, I'm on 'Staff Conference' speaking duties so, having completed the first in Swansea, I suffered the five hour stormy-weather slog up the West coast of Wales before nipping out again for 'supper with the Seniors' ie. schmoozing with the big bosses. There was a brief discussion of my recent UK Games Expo adventures before the massive plates of food arrived and we all ended up 'talking shop'.

Wednesday disavowed it's Pissing It Down Predecessor and dawned (and remained) bright, hot and glorious; come the late afternoon, a satisfyingly-swollen bag of good things done good in the office, I cheery-byed and set off for the lovely Prestatyn.


Wales is famous for it's castles.


In the traditional British manner, I parked up at the beach and sat in the car scoffing my chicken dinner, watching the sea roll in-and-out. Once the grease and the flecks of fried batter had been wiped away, I wandered up and down the sand for 20 minutes kicking a discarded golf ball about; I was tempted to pull off my shoes and socks and go for a paddle but the frothing scum on the water's edge put pay to THAT romantic (possibly infectious) gesture!

There were eight in attendance at the Promethean's Beach Bar venue: Mark, Paul, Lou, Phillip, Lee, Dean, Jeremy and myself. Five of us were pre-booked to have a run with the prototype 5/6 player expansion for the NEW version of Agricola, so I quickly explained Imhotep to Marc, Paul and Jeremy before setting out the new stuff.

The 'Gricspansion in summary: There are more Occs plus a couple of extension boards for the actions - there are no longer those 'scaleable' card overlays. My job tonight was to see how the Occs played and to track resource/component shortages.


Lou (playing blue) has a clue what to do.


It was, as usual, a hugely fun game with different paths being followed by each player:
- Lou: quietly builds an animal-centred smallholding but never really gets heavily in to Occs or Improvements (25)
- Lee: Still very tentative but did, at my suggestion, follow the effect of one of the new Occs and set up two free renovations (22)
- Dean: Plenty of cards played out but at the expense of a properly-populated farm board (23)
- Tony: Exploited a couple of Improvement bonuses (one wood less, one food every time I built an improvement) to buy TWO Wells (basic game Well, 5/6 player extra copy of a Well) and a slew of other delicious Majors and Minors (37)
- Phillip: Professionally exploited a couple of animal-gain shortcut Occupations to fill his farm board to bursting with all manner of Agricolean 'good things' (46)

We ran out of various bits at times (notes taken) and everyone had a blast; while still a little bit 'tricksy' in places, it certainly felt less painful to play...and it's always a pleasure for me, of course.

The orphaned trio were still pursuing happiness so, after a farewell to Louis, I taught the others Imhotep. As expected, there was some passing dickery - much to the delight of Mark, who had wandered over during a PoH comfort break to demand that we stitch each other up more:


Better Boating!


Thanks to some focused Pyramid-building, I pushed ahead to a comfortable margin and managed to survive Phillip's last-minute dominance of the Burial Chamber to win by just a couple of points: what a splendid game!

It was still slightly-dusk when I left at 2200HRS so, with the infamous coastal wind farm spinning lazily in my rear-view mirror, I bade the seaside farewell and roosted back at the B&B.

Lovely pillows they have here, my friends; really lovely pillows.
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Thu Jun 16, 2016 6:30 am
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Media Whore

Anthony Boydell
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Newent. Glos
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It's tiring work hawking yourself around the media outlets but it's also an utter pleasure; here, then, are a couple of Tony Guest Spots:

Video Tony:



thumbsup


Podcast Tony:


http://traffic.libsyn.com/perfectinformation/Great_Designers...
(FYI: Ben seems to have edited EVERY pause out of this recording with the effect that I felt quite breathless at the end of listening to it!)

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Tony Reviewed:



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I trust that you are all now suitably 'gorged' on the meat of my Wisdom? #knackered #tomdropsstuffagain
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Wed Jun 15, 2016 6:35 am
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Fundstücke

Anthony Boydell
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After a humid weekend, Mrs B decided to venture in to a rarely-trod aspect of 'The Tall Room', one of the kids' bedrooms in the house extension what we built 14 years ago, to open the Velux window. That 'ledge' has been a haven for dead flies, cobwebs and dust and is the last resting place of many a Boydellian treasure. Imagine my surprise when, having secured ventilation, a lost horde was uncovered 'neath the dried skin flakes and plaster dust!


So, what do you think we unearthed from this (elevated) forgotten tomb?

Poll
What did Mrs B uncover..?
What did Mrs B excavate from the 'sands' of the knick-knack graveyard?
The mummified corpse of the bloke who hand-made the room's crap wooden staircase?
16 (sixteen) copies of mint-in-shrink Scandaroon?
One English Penny and a blu-tac sculpture of Santa Claus?
A Pelham Puppet that looks like it would climb out of the cupboard and throttle you in the night?
A box with every tooth taken by the Tooth Fairy from the Boydell children?
All of the above?
      190 answers
Poll created by tonyboydell
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Tue Jun 14, 2016 6:15 am
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Grave New World

Anthony Boydell
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Quote:

HONORING THE VICTIMS OF THE ATTACK IN ORLANDO, FLORIDA

- - - - - - -

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
A PROCLAMATION

As a mark of respect for the victims of the act of hatred and terror perpetrated on Sunday, June 12, 2016, in Orlando, Florida, by the authority vested in me as President of the United States by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, I hereby order that the flag of the United States shall be flown at half-staff at the White House and upon all public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and naval stations, and on all naval vessels of the Federal Government in the District of Columbia and throughout the United States and its Territories and possessions until sunset, June 16, 2016. I also direct that the flag shall be flown at half-staff for the same length of time at all United States embassies, legations, consular offices, and other facilities abroad, including all military facilities and naval vessels and stations.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twelfth day of June, in the year of our Lord two thousand sixteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and fortieth.

BARACK OBAMA



In the 1990s, we were all so terribly excited about the coming Millennium: there were songs by Prince and Pulp to which we ‘bopped’, there were fireworks exploding over every settlement and campanologists the world over were merrily tugging away until they came round at a handstroke. We were eroding the sexism, homophobia and racism that had hung on in to the late 20th century and everything was going to be love, peace and flying cars; not even the apocalyptic spectre of the ‘millennium bug’, with the terror of ATMs vomiting cash at random, bank systems evaporating our savings and planes falling out of the sky, could distract us from the shining, metallic glimpse of ‘things to come’!

And then Bush got in. And then the Twin Towers. And then Putin got in. And then we shat explosives all over the Middle East and executed our former allies and orphaned a million children and radicalised a new generation. Now everything seems to be counting backwards: sixteen years in to the Brave New World and you’d be forgiven for thinking it was 1984 all over again with mainland terrorist attacks, ‘mad’ actual and potential world leaders, football hooliganism, poverty, the greed of the Markets and a return to monumental intolerance and crass stupidity. The more cynical amongst you might suggest that all of this never really went away but I disagree; I believe we were all well up for a Buck Rogers future at century’s turn – how quickly that dream died in the cradle.

Today we mourn a mass killing in Florida; though no more tragic and reprehensible than the burning of girls in Syria or the massacres in little-mentioned African nations, much is made because it is in the heart of ‘the free world’ and it’s another opportunity for religious fundamentalists to crow on about divine retribution / racists to blame everyone else except themselves. To be honest, if 27 children being shot in Connecticut (2012) wasn’t enough to accept the need for gun control then nothing, and no number of victims, is going to change that mentality. So, once again, we bow our heads and hold the casualties in our thoughts – albeit briefly – and then push on with our own lives.

The bizarre travelling-backwards-in-time continues...
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Mon Jun 13, 2016 9:28 am
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Nefertiti's Delivery Service

Anthony Boydell
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The week has been Summery and busy and I was very much looking forward to an evening, with the Ross-on-Wye peeps, trying out some of the lighter fayre retrieved from the UK Games Expo.

Aside: Have I mentioned that this year's UKGE was bloody AWESOME?

So, there was only space in the dusty VW Touran for:
Imhotep
Broom Service
Lanterns: The Harvest Festival, and
Ominoes

Arriving at The White Lion - shortly to become 'Under New Management' *gulp* - I noticed the Batesons gleefully-reversing their tiny bimble-mobile in the last 'back Car Park' space and Jobbers happily sliding his shiny 'Beamer' into a tight gap. However, fortune was with me on this balmy evening and a massive Range Rover growled away from the hedge leaving me a plum spot!

The four of us were quickly beveraged up and I sidestepped the usual Dance of What-to-play by slamming my Imhotep on the table; as I explained the (simple, straight-forward) rules, we were joined by long-absent but entirely welcome Anne and Sam. This forced a stop, rewind and two threes split: Anne, Sam and Ben for Vikings; Tony, Jobbers and Becky for:


Big blocks of devious fun!


In Summary: On your turn you either
i) take 3 cubes of your colour
ii) put a cube on a boat
iii) sail a boat to an unoccupied site OR
iv) play a bonus action card

The aim is to get your cubes on to scoring spaces / in to scoring positions on a number of 'sites' (Burial chamber, Temple, Obelisk and Pyramid) or to get access to bonus cards (Market).


The spice that gives this Knizia-esque treat it's delicious flavour is the rule that you can 'sail' ANY boat, not just one with your cube on, which leads to tremendous screwage scenarios when you send someone off to a duff Burial Chamber space instead of the juicy market card they were coveting! Becky won the first game and we unanimously agreed to an immediate second, which Jobbers stole; TBH, we would've gone for a third had the Vikings table not been in the middle of final scoring! Whilst I love Codenames, I think Imhotep is a clear winner for this year's SdJ: it's that perfect package of simple rules, timing & screwage and physicality.

Aside: Mid-Imhotep, a White Lion Bar old lady regular popped over to see what we were all doing and congratulated us for, well, I'm not sure: being clever enough to play games? Having lots of different games? She smiled, patted Jobbers on the shoulder and said 'Well done' before returning to her high stool and sweet sherry. At least she didn't say the M word.

The mid-evening split took Anne, Ben and myself to the adjacent table for our first go at Broom Service, last year's KdJ and breezily summed up as a Pick Up & Deliver version of Glass Road. As anticipated, by Mr S Burnham, the pleasure of calling "I am a Brave Weather Fairy!" to a crowded Bar was only surpassed by Ben immediately retorting: "No! _I_ am a Brave Weather Fairy!".


Which witch?


Despite my own massive incompetence, and Anne's befuddlement because she kept thinking she was playing the red (my) pieces, it was a tremendous blast to play. Even Ben, whose default State is 'notoriously difficult to impress', was completely taken in! He even purred with pleasure during my round-off-the-night resurfacing of Imhotep, making this quite the most successful 'introduce stuff to the group' night EVER (Lanterns was a hit, though Ominoes less-so on the other table).

Though I may handle a broom like Neville Longbottom, it was quite the most satisfying evening of play for a long time; happy faces all round!
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Sun Jun 12, 2016 6:35 am
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