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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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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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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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An Education

Anthony Boydell
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Bureaucracy gone mad meant that Mrs B did not return yesterday from taking Daisy (youngest daughter) - and pretty much everything she owns - back to Guildford. Delays in access to the 'student house' curtailed both THEIR plans for a pleasant settling-in and MY plans for going off to the Pub to play board games. However, never one to totally give up I suggested that Benedict and Arthur join me in a game of 'something' after supper:


The first hit is free...




Final Tally: Arthur (top tableau) pulled in a VERY respectable 35 (with only a little prompting) whilst Benedict floundered after boxing himself in with a couple of begging cards (he "definitely prefers the proper version"). Arthur wanted to play again immediately...only it was bedtime.

It's a start, people; it's a start!
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Sat Aug 20, 2016 6:45 am
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Games for Muppets!

Anthony Boydell
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Ok, here we go!



You know how a throwaway comment can lead to much, MUCH more? Well, I suggested 'Kemet' as a good fighty game for four and Boffo responded with 'Miss Piggy'!

And then this...

https://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/212875/games-muppets

Fill your boots!
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Fri Aug 19, 2016 9:25 am
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Karma Lutra?

Anthony Boydell
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I was driving home - through the sun-hazy, straw-baled countryside - following a bit of a back-of-beyond route from Abergavenny through the 'B' roads to Ross-on-Wye. The journey took me past a childhood home, the old secondary school bus route and within spitting distance of a couple of castles ('White' and 'Skenfrith'). Switching off the spoken word for a moment, I was very much enjoying - in that gutsy singalong way - the works of Marjorie Fair and Jellyfish when an otter lolloped out of the hedge on my right-hand side and into my path..!

He disappeared between the front wheels and I could hear the bumping of him against the sealed underside of the VW Touran; looking in my rear-view mirror, I noticed him roll on the tarmac, right himself and start licking his paws...there were a couple of vehicles about 800yds behind but I didn't see what happened with them on account of not wanting to crash at the upcoming crossroads!

For the remainder of the trip, my brow was stubbornly furrowed and my mouth of a melancholic downturn; I don't mind crunching in to dumb pigeons on occasion - a strange frisson to be gained from seeing the spherical bloom of feathers when glancing behind - but thumping in to poor Mr Otter has me feeling very sad indeed! Can anyone cheer me up, please?
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Fri Aug 19, 2016 6:30 am
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