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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Smudge's Birthday

Anthony Boydell
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Newent. Glos
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Life in the Boydell household has been rather tense in recent weeks - for lots of different reasons - and in the occasional moments of calm, Arthur and I have managed to steal the playing of the odd game here-and-there.



In summary: Lay out tunnel tiles at random, between glued-on 'fixed tiles'. The one left-over tile is used to push a line in either the horizontal or vertical which will connect tunnel tiles, open up new routes etc. A deck of cards with quest images on (that match those printed on the tiles) is divided among all players. The goal is to push & move on your turn; if you can move on to the tile that matches the top card of your allocation, you reveal it and start working towards the next one. The first player to have 'found' all their cards and returned to their HOME is the winner.

If you scan the BGG entry for this, you will see it's something of a mega-classic but in a 1980s sort-of way ie. it was good then but doesn't really hold up now. Perhaps it's just me, but we spent the best part of 90 minutes (two sessions) staring at a board that seemed frustratingly un-connectable: L and T passages the wrong-way-round, needing to move a line only to find it was one with fixed edge points and so on. Imagine throwing some deliberate line shoves to mess with other players' plans and the whole thing would go on forever!


Karnickel


Thankfully, Arthur's long-fought victory hadn't dulled his appetite for gaming so we returned to safer, cuter ground with Karnickel: role dice, move rabbits, move the train (if needed) and collect carrots. Arthur's penchant for shoving MY rabbits on to the 'exploding carrot' space was uncanny, as was my ability to trigger the running of the train immediately afterwards! 13 carrots to 6 was the final, emphatic scale of his victory...though, as you will see above, Arthur was happy that all of our rabbits shared in the crunchy orange bounty prior to packing up. He's all heart, that one.

Then came the end of the day and the sanctuary of The White Lion in Ross-on-Wye. After reading another chapter of Charlie & The Chocolate Factory to Arthur, Benedict accompanied me for an evening of Becky's Games - the privilege afforded to a birthday celebrant. I came bearing gifts: a cartoon caricature of Boffo (last seen here: https://www.boardgamegeek.com/blogpost/38967/back-school-3) and the Spielbox Colt Express playmat for Byll, as well as Keyflower and Cockroach Poker for playing.

It was another impressive turnout, denied a repeat 9 by Dan's possibly-concussed infant: Boffo, Birthday Girl Smudge, Byll, Jobbers, me, Benedict, Suzanna and Suzanna's flat-mate (name not heard nor repeated). There would be no doubt whatsoever that Becky would pick Lancaster as it's her favourite game by a long streak, so I proposed Keefers on the other table. An interesting debate raged about whether new-to-boardgames SFM (Suze's Flat Mate) should be baptised with early-medieval worker placement OR colourful Colonial worker placement with auctions: they (ie. not me) all regarded Keyflower as 'too advanced' - what dost thou believe, dear reader?

No matter: we separated and would remain thus for the remainder of the evening due to mis-timed overlaps: me, Suzanna, Benedict and Byll by the front window, the rest by the radiator and the mini-hifi.


Our menu for the evening


Suzanna needed a rules explanation and only a little guidance during play (she's pretty quick off the blocks); however, that 'little guidance' proved hugely important at the end as it gave her a face-slapping, 71-48-42-37 win. She had the '1 metal/3 metal' Key Mine tile and the Blacksmith (2 or 3 points per metal on this at game end) was waiting in the centre of the table: "If you intend to flip the Mine, you really must win the Blacksmith first" I suggested. She resisted for a bit and, eventually, acquiesced: that combination was worth >20 points on it's own. She would've won anyway, I believe; though by a few dribbling points rather than that monstrous, humiliating avalanche!

Becky's table had loudly-laughed through Fauna and were now clubbing poor SFM with 7 Wonders, so Byll suggested Machi Koro with the Harbor expansion. It was a fun diversion using the new - better - 10 piles from a central mixed deck rule and came down to me rolling a double to gain an extra turn and gather 30 coins (for the last achievement) before Suzanna, who already had enough money. How we (except Byll) laughed as the lucrative Tuna and Mackerel Boats triggered, regularly, for everyone (except Byll)!

Before we outstayed our welcome, it behooved Boffo and myself to present Becky with her present and sing a lusty, if in-the-wrong-time (and, for some, key), version of Happy Birthday To You:


Although Snowdonia is only Becky's second (or third) favourite worker
placement game, I still found her a super-rare copy (there are only 18)
of the Katie engine.


Ah, the perks of knowing a game designer ALMOST outweigh the disadvantages!
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Today 11:05 am
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Nature: Red in tooth and claw

Anthony Boydell
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Newent. Glos
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I mentioned that Inhabit the Earth is NOT a children's game and THIS is why! Leave this box unattended and all natural Hell is gonna break loose!

Don't say I didn't warn you...




Seal eats Penguin: it's a Leopard seal, the Penguin is chocolate flavoured.



Wolf eats Zebra because it's closest to him and, besides, the panda looks too bloomin' weird.



Lion eats Gazelle - a tale as old as time.



Walrus eats Seal: It's sort of cannibalism, isn't it?



Wolf eats Panda: It's creeping it out too much with its big eyes, shit procreative technique and bamboo fixation.



Lion eats Reindeer - only because the zebra's disappeared (it was there not long ago) and the reindeer looks a bit like that tasty gazelle *burp*



Elephant sits on wolf by accident; there was a short whelp noise and then silence.



Condor eats Parrot...because the Parrot just wouldn't. Stop. Talking.



Elephant & Giraffe team up to trample the Lion to death. A cub and an evil Uncle look on, from a distance.



Elephant reneges on the deal and gores the Giraffe to death. Mutters something about 'always looking down at me...'



The dominion of the Earth has been divided. No-one noticed the chameleon who shall, one day, evolve in to:



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Fri Aug 28, 2015 6:45 am
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In Other News...

Anthony Boydell
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Item: Doncha just LOVE it when the doors open on a Sale?

Despite some hiccups over postage (and a designer with a doubled-up forename), Snowdonia: Trans-Australian Railway & The Daffodil Line jumps up to No.1 in the Funagain chart! thumbsup



Item: A new game from Richard Breese!
Yes, indeed! But it's NOT a 'Key' game but another one of his occasional floral/faunal diversions: Inhabit the Earth (a name I fought to KEEP in playtesting). I last played this about three years ago (we had a bit of an intensive few months giving it a hammering) and I am delighted to see it coming to light at last! The box looks a bit HABA (corrected), though - which it certainly ISN'T!

 


It plays more like "Lewis & Clark" TBH:




Richard provides his usual walkthru/overview here: https://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/195869/inhabit-earth-...



Item: Interviews Galore!
A couple of weeks ago it was ME (http://gaming-rules.com/gaming-rules-podcast-14/) and now it's the aforementioned Mr Richard Breese (http://gaming-rules.com/gaming-rules-podcast-15/) on the Gaming Rules Podcast (https://www.boardgamegeek.com/guild/2258). Hear us prattle on about games roar!



Good day to you.

I said GOOD DAY!
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Thu Aug 27, 2015 6:45 am
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A Miscarriage of Justice

Anthony Boydell
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I want to talk just a little about postage - a subject I've ranted mildly about in the past. The joy of launching a new product is quickly being tainted by a swelling disdain about postage in the U.S. which is, of course, something about which I can do not a thing. Postage, couriers, dispatch and whatever is a bitch; do you want your parcel to
a) arrive intact
b) be track-able (because we're all impatient), and
c) not be stolen along the way?
Then it costs. Thanks to eBay and Amazon, the Postal Services have significantly-increased demands and (of course) shining new rivers of revenue to exploit. Not content with seeing the carriers hoovering up the sponds, we must now welcome Customs & Excise to the party. Everyone wants their slice of the pie, don't they? Snouts in the bloody trough the lot of them.

Sadly it's not these middlemen, these top-of-the-milk skimmers - these thumb on the scales merchants - who feel the wrath of the consumer but those who must utilise their services.

My $8 expansion - designed with care and both physical and financial economy in mind - is costing as much again to send internally in the U.S - not because the vendor is scamming but because that's what it costs nowadays. We're all running around in the background trying to find a better solution but no one's going to give up their portion easily.

I remember the look on the Cashiers face (at my local post office) when I balked at £5.20 ($9) to send three Snowdonia weather discs to the U.S: "WE say it's a small parcel NOT a letter...and how ELSE are you going to get it there anyway?".

Without a distributor, there's no way I can get my stuff into U.S. stores so this is the channel left to me: people who have been good and fair with me for years. So, in summary, we're not ALL out to fleece you...only the inbetweeners who neither created the game nor have any intention of consuming it! I will, however, apologise anyway on behalf of everything: I'm sorry.
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Wed Aug 26, 2015 6:25 am
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Snowdown Under - It's that time again!

Anthony Boydell
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Okay! We've checked (and double-checked) the PDFs, chatted with the Post Office and received confirmation from the printers that all the files are uploaded and production is sorted for Spiel 2015! After the month I've had, that's quite a weight off my mind...so now it's time to add a new weight:






In Snowdonia: The Trans-Australian Railway expansion, 1-4 players help to complete one of the iconic transcontinental railways. Matching the route completed in 1937, players build from Sydney (my home town - Matt D) on the East to Perth in the West, requiring changes of rail gauge (sort of). The Trans-Australian Railway includes the longest dead-straight stretch of track in the world at 478km. Players have to make use of a new resource: water, which is scarce in this desert country, as well as coping with wild weather and the possibility of drought and flash-flooding. This advanced scenario, for 1-4 players, adds more variety to the weather, as well as introducing water as a valuable resource in the harsh climate of Australia.

With a little bit of space left in the 33-card deck template, the pack also includes a reprint of Snowdonia: The Daffodil Line for those of you unable to grab it back in 2013!


Essen Pre-Orders & Pick up
The price per copy is €6 (six euros) and can be collected up to 12PM on the Sunday (October 11th); after then all unclaimed copies will be put on general sale. Please send your required number of copies and contact information - name and email address - with a Subject of "Oz for Essen" to preorders@surprisedstaregames.co.uk

U.S Pre-Orders
We're continuing our long-standing working relationship with splendid peeps at Funagain and they will be handling the U.S pre-orders for this expansion. So, if you're in the U.S then please go here to reserve your copy: https://www.funagain.com/control/product?product_id=034078

All Other Pre-Orders (payment in advance please)
For the UK
The price per copy is £5.50 (five British pounds and fifty pence) incl. postage & packing.

For Europe
The price per copy is €10.50 (ten euros and fifty cents) incl. postage and packing.

For the rest of the world (NOT including the U.S, remember!)
The price per copy is £8.25 (eight British pounds and twenty-five pence) incl. postage & packing.

Important Note: If you want extra copies in the same consignment then contact us at feedback@surprisedstaregames.co.uk, before paying, so we can optimize your postage charge!

Paying
For all non-Essen preorders, you will need to pay in advance (we're using a separate fulfillment team this year thus freeing up space in my dining room!). Payments should be through Paypal - in the appropriate currency - using the following address:

payments@surprisedstaregames.co.uk

Please ensure your postal address information is up-to-date!
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Tue Aug 25, 2015 6:30 am
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klemens sana in corpore sano

Anthony Boydell
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Newent. Glos
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(Note: this really doesn't work viewed from an iPhone)

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This isn't creepy. No, not creepy at all!



After all, I only suggested this:


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Mon Aug 24, 2015 6:45 am
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It's only water!

Anthony Boydell
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A sodden, yet still-celebratory, Sunday Snippet

Yesterday, we held a party for my eldest daughter - Alice - and invited friends and family;
Alice is off to New Zealand for a gap year and will be 21 while 11,000 miles away!

I purchased monstrous quantities of barbecue meats and beverages and spent the morning grooming
the house, clearing puppy poo from the garden and generally making the place look jolly.

We thought to have a bonfire to sizzle in the darkness, accompanied by sparklers and acoustic
guitars too; thus, I did prune and snip and trim and heft great walnut boughs. An old fabric
gazebo was salvaged from the collapsing tool-shed at the very bottom of the garden and missing
screws replaced with workable substitutes. The sun was out and beating, humidity was up...



...and the warnings of 'rain later' came noisily and impressively true JUST as we'd laid
out the last of the tablecloths!



It pissed it down, it flooded out of the sky like being stood under a running tap; on the hillsides,
apparently, hailstones the size of marbles dropped. Sat in the very centre of the gazebo - having drawn
all the tables and equipment 'in' for shelter - we laughed at the torrent; we scorned the thunderous
maelstrom! After 15 minutes, the first wave of bucketing had passed and we resumed the lighting of charcoal
and the searing of flesh. By the time the second wave arrived, children (and young adults) were already
dive-bombing in to the pool and splashing around: as fast as they were spraying the water on to the grass,
the weather was hammering it back in again!

No matter! It passed once more and the remainder of the evening was muggy but dry.

We had burgers, chicken, steak, pork and cake. So. Much. Cake!



Oh, and while this was happening I was getting final art updates from Klemens to review:

Oh, the irony!

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Sun Aug 23, 2015 10:04 am
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Get The Flick Outta Here

Anthony Boydell
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JamSumo to start: Byll, getting off to an uncharacteristically-good start, flicked his first three die straight dahn-the-ole much to the delight of Smudge who was giggling like she was being constantly-tickled. Jobbers took over the 'golden shot' title for a while until Boffo very nearly stole the entire evening with a 'flyer':


Jobbers waits with hands a-cupped: Boffo's final die is not visible
because it is airbourne and out of shot! It was flicked up from the
overhang harbouring an already-home blue, Boffonian polygon


Such promixal triumph for the wheezing beerglugger was cancelled out by his clumsy thumb pivot a round later; failing to realise the equillibrial properties of a THREE-LEGGED Sumo board, he flipped a whole bunch o'stuff on to table. Happily, without losing any of the dice, the ham-fisted faux pas was soon forgotten by the arrival of Dan clutching his e-cig (now rather Steampunk Device in appearance - all pipes and chambers, cogs and vapours) and Agricola. We all repaired to the overflow room as seven of us (Suzannah had also bounced in) couldn't fit on the solitary reserved table.

Agricola for Main: the unholy Trinity of myself, Dan and Boffo decided to draft a mixture of EIK and Pi while the others de- and re-capitated fowl with my copy of Verzauberte Eulen:


Nastier than it looks: cute Owls + Gamers = Pain


I won the farming (33-27-24) after an oddly-hungry game and very few Occs/Minors played and coincided with the conclusion of Colt Express in the other group who, nearing an Avian denouement from before, had been joined by late arrivers Mike and Helen. I like CE very much but remain fearful of a Spiel des Jahres that encourages repetition of phrases such as "I'll shoot up in the Restaurant Car" or "I'll going down on the Sheriff in the Sleeper Carriage".

Dessert was served in the form of Cubist: Byll, Mike and myself got all Henry Moore on each-others ass, as did 'the girls' - with the Bateson copy - on the next table. Boffo, Dan and Jobbers were well-up for Concordia (Italy map) and that saw them out to closing time.

Cheese and biscuits, just for a change, was Braggart; won comfortably by noob Mike but not as energised a game as has been known in the past. Perhaps it was the lateness of the hour? Perhaps it was the Stygian gloom of a room lit with energy-saving lightbulbs? Fun was had by all albeit sedate, well-behaved and polite fun.
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Sat Aug 22, 2015 11:15 am
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Owl Be Seeing You

Anthony Boydell
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I've been away (hence the distracting fine art pieces) in West Wales, combining work with a snatched bit of pleasure. The trainer is on holiday at the moment and someone in deepest Aberystwyth (it has a funicular railway, you know...time for a bijou expansionette!) needed bringing up to speed on a few things. Seeing as I am the fount of all knowledge re: 'the new IT system', it's original requirements through it's underlying structures and final implementation, I seized at the chance to bimble over there for a couple of days. Why? Well, there IS the Vale of Rheidol (ooh! another spin-off!) BUT mainly there is my Dad and my sister and my brother: that's 60% of the original band line-up!

I arranged to kip in the Summer house at the bottom of my Sister's garden, to drop my eldest son off with my Dad at one of their shops (between them they have a Café and Delicatessen businesses in the pretty coastal town of Aberaeron) and head up the coast 20 miles to do some blah-blah-blah. When the working day was done, it's Harbour time then fish and chips and...oh, everyone works stupid early mornings and they've all gone to bed by 8PM!

When we got back, yesterday, after three hours in a piss-storm, I found a package waiting on my Library table: 'package waiting' - two very welcome words!


A package, yesterday.


But what, in the name of Donald Trump's silken HeadMirkin, is IN the dashed thing?



Enchanted Owls!


In summary: each player has a number of owl pieces that have detachable heads. At the start of the game, those bodies and heads are separated amongst all players and you need to be the first to bring yours together and get them to the (safe) middle of the board!

It's roll-and-move BUT with a delicious twist because there are three rolls and three corresponding moves in your turn: a die for an owl with your head on, a die for one of your bodies and one for the BLACK OWL! Land on another owl's space exactly and you can swap heads...land on the black owl (or he on you) and you'll end up in trouble! The black owl is CURSED, you see, so while one of your bodies has the black head - and/or vice versa - you cannot win the game! Cue: lots of sneaky swapping shenanigans! It's a real 'hoot' to play, with a mean streak.


It's a HABA - Habermaaß GmbH release (reprinting an earlier, much harder to find original); I first encountered these avian capers at pal Richard's house almost 10 years ago and have been keeping my eyes peeled for a copy since. All good things come to he ta-wooooo waits...
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Fri Aug 21, 2015 7:00 am
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The Money Pit

Anthony Boydell
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Time to start making a list:

https://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/195561/how-fill-your-...

Any other suggestions? I've only made it to page 6 of the preview so far!
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Thu Aug 20, 2015 7:00 am
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