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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Up The Spout

Anthony Boydell
United Kingdom
Newent. Glos
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It being a Friday night, I would normally have found myself down the pub playing board games; this week, however, I am on holiday...so we ended up down the pub playing board games!



The barman noticed the copy of Codenames tucked under my arm as I attempted to wrest 3 pints of delicious Guinness from his Yorkshire mitts and began telling me how he liked it a lot and OTHER games of that style: had I "heard of The Resistance or Ticket To Ride?" he asked, innocently...kindly select the response you think I gave:

Quiz
Yorkshire folk are some of the friendliest folk about (unless you're Margaret of Anjou, natch); how do you think Tony responded to the question (when spotted carrying Codenames) "Have you heard of The Resistance or Ticket To Ride?
Barman: Have you heard of The Resistance or Ticket to Ride?"

Tony: ...
Tony: "No, of course not! Serve me my ale, barkeep, lest ye feel mine righteous wrath!"
Tony: "Yes - they're songs by John Lennon & The Rolling Stones, aren't they?"
Tony: "Yes indeed; I play a lot of board games - though, often, more complex ones TBH"
Tony: "Don't you KNOW who I AM?" (flounces off)
    158 answers
Quiz created by tonyboydell


He was also kind enough to give us the residents-only WiFi password so I could upload this holiday pictures and - jokingly - I asked if there were any Pokemon about and, with completely straight face, he replied: "You can often get a Squirtle up in the Office" and returned to his alcohol-dispensing duties. Game 1 was lost to the red team on account of no-one (out of the THREE of them) knowing that my clue of 'Q':2 was indicating, clearly-and-unambiguously "Bond" and "Staff". In the second game, a loose guess from the Blues uncovered the Assassin and we settled on 1-1. The house was quiet upon our midnight return, though the boys had obviously initiated some gaming of their own:


ALL of bits AND the spares for Thunder Road laid out for maximum effect!


The noisy, and VERY late, shenanigans of the night before meant that Dvorak's New World Symphony became the official soundtrack of Friday as timid and mild creatures emerged from the dewy undergrowth to greet the new Dawn...


(get this playing before you continue - it's luverly)


...well, I say 'the Dawn', it was much closer to 'the Noon' TBH. Once awake, however, there was a voracious consumption of leftovers by way of 'Brunch' and then we were all booted and marching down the hill, in the drizzle, to see the Mallyan Spout waterfall:



Quote:
(from http://www.yorkshiremoors.co.uk) At sixty feet, Mallyan Spout is the tallest waterfall in the moors...One of my favourite things about Mallyan Spout is that you can get really close to the water. After wet weather the footpath along West Beck almost passes through the waterfall! The water is scattered as it passes through the vegetation on the side of the cliff, forming a gentle spray rather than a raging torrent.




Shortly after this (see above) celebratory pose from Mrs B, young Arthur stripped off to just his jeans and soaked in the icy shower for 30 seconds! He spent the rest of the excursion shivering in wet trousers but, hey...


The obligatory 'Artistic' shot.



Gnarled roots with 'captured' stone.



Looking along the Beck.


A Lord of the Rings-esque trek along the riverside, all higgledy-piggledy ups-and-downs, bridges and stiles, led us to the Beck Hole pub - and a clear blue sky - for refreshing beverages and pork pies with pickle; sat in the beer garden, we could feed Finches pastry crumbs out of our hands!

You have still got the Dvorak playing, yes? Well, imagine our sun-baked return to base through light-dappling trees, meadow-scented cinder paths and scrubby Common land: bliss.
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Today 9:05 am
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Driving Miss Daisy

Anthony Boydell
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Newent. Glos
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The night before last I dreamt I had two rented vans and a hire car at home and all of them were late returns; I rushed about trying to find the appropriate sets of keys and then tried to drive each back but I couldn't remember where I got them in the first place and I kept using the wrong keys in the wrong vehicles! What the hell does THAT mean, then?

Substantially greyer and cooler than Wednesday, and after all of that walking-and-ting, we let everyone have a lie-in; the plan for the afternoon was a trip to Whitby when we would also be joined by two brothers-in-law, who were journeying up to join us (sofa room only now) for the weekend. During the quiet A.M, I managed to persuade Peter and Benedict - taking a break from their loud and shouty Stormbringer campaign - to join me and keen-as-mustard Ian for a quick Agricola.


The Slopey Back Cow?!


Dodgy animeeples aside, I performed the customary rules overview and we were soon away; as expected, Ian took a little prodding in the right direction to get going but was soon focused on 'filling up the board with a bit of this and a bit of that': not 'stylish' or combo-filled, as many of us show-offs veterans prefer, but solid and straightforward and garnering him a wholly respectable 29 points. Not at all bad for a first Agricola, but consider also that this is his first 'proper' Eurogame too.


Front-Left: Tony's Farm (with cheeky Begging Card), Front-Right: Ian's Farm


Peter and Benedict noodled about without any real intentions - barely the one Occupation card between them - and managed full boards but less-than-full final scores...but, do you know what? Who cares!

* * * I got to play Agricola on a family holiday! * * *


Final Scores


Daughter Daisy has finished college for the Summer so, by way of a distraction, we're arranging for her to take her driving test; this, of course, means getting her driving...so a quick call to the Insurance company and a couple of magnetic 'L' plates later, she and I were beetling in to Whitby behind the Convoy of Everyone Else.


The famous Abbey



Whitby's finest Emporium De, somewhat over-priced, Jeux; I'm not clear what non-savvy gamer tourist would stump up £65 for Power Grid TBH



Arthur contemplates the North Sea...and what flavour Ice Cream to have!



The Captain Cook Memorial (complete with guano and guano dispenser)


Laden with a fat bag of 'skimming stones' for Friday, 10 portions of cod & chips and three freshly-caught Pokémon, we returned to the cliff-top car park in the drizzling dusk. Home and a round-the-campfire sing-song provided a (late) end to day with such classics as "Day Tripper", "I'm My Own Grandpa", Jake Thackeray's "The Lodger" and our own (infamously self-penned) "Here Comes The Bridle" (detailing a cowboy's special relationship with his steed)...sing along now, if you know the words!
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Fri Jul 29, 2016 6:40 am
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Training Day

Anthony Boydell
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Newent. Glos
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It was a rather gloomy start to Wednesday courtesy of low, grey clouds Sunday driving across the heavens; there was hope, however, as I could see - if I leaned perilously out of the bedroom window - a glowing patch of lit-up moorland in the North and a generous ellipse of bright-blue sky (mind you, I would do - and have done - the Railway Walk in all weathers, so it was academic anyway). Akin to herding cats, getting everyone out of the house by the mooted 10AM was a struggle and we almost did it:


We're off (10.15AM)!


Ian and I spent an hour-or-so, last night, planning a bijou Live Roleplaying scenario to accompany the 90 minute walk through the woods, becks and cinder paths of Goathland to Grosmont: there was a riddle encounter where they earned healing spells and a magical dagger that may prove useful later (!).


The Kids are Alright


There were a couple of dim-witted robbers barring a bridge, a nimble stepping stones river crossing and a couple of Boss Fights which ended up - after The Demon Skeleton Lord had been vanquished - with young Arthur (who was really getting in to his character: custodian of the possibly-important magical dagger) being possessed by evil and teleporting to another dimension.


The Long, but not winding, road


It should also be noted that Benedict and Peter played Bards 'Garry' and 'Barry', quite the most irritating pair of musical adventurers since Brave Sir Robin's troupe! Armed with a sleep-charmed +5 Ukelele, Barry (or was Benedict Garry?), would suddenly pipe up "What was that? Somebody wants a SONG?" and then launch in to an improvised 'Wonderful World' or a made-up strummed ditty about "having a big sword not a small sword". It was relentless, tiresome and utterly hilarious!


Crossing a bridge...the HARD (LARP) way!


Before we knew it, the journey was coming to it's end with the North Yorkshire Moors Railway facilities hoving in to view:


Engine Shed ahoy - our destination is almost upon us


And then, after the short hill climb in the increasingly hot noon sunshine, we had arrived at my favourite place; my soul's ease:


THAT view! Grosmont nestling in the valley


Despite allocating an extra 30 minutes to the estimated travelling time, we were STILL too late to catch the 12.30PM train to Pickering - it chugged passed pulled by a flaky-painted diesel - so the happy band nipped in to the old School for lunch and caught the 13.30 train instead:


Grosmont - 1



Grosmont - 2



Sustenance@Grosmont - 3



Through the Tunnel - 1



Goathland Revisited - 1



Goathland Revisited - 2



Goathland Revisited - 3


Yes. I spent the entire 70 minute journey with my head stuck out of the window: wind in the hair, grit in the eye, joy in my heart!




Towards Levisham - 1



Towards Levisham - 2



Towards Levisham - 3



Towards Levisham - 4


A wander around Pickering for an hour garnered cakes, books and other treats then it was back to the station to catch the last train (4PM):


Picking us up at Pickering - 1



Picking us up at Pickering - 2



Picking us up at Pickering - 3


At Goathland, we still had a mile or so of walking to the house so picked up some energizing double-scoop ice-creams on the way; feet aching, and brows glistening with sweat, we flumped in to the sitting room armchairs seven (7) hours after we'd left. Bliss.

Oh, and Ziggy had a great day too:

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Thu Jul 28, 2016 6:40 am
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It's a small world but I wouldn't want to paint it.

Anthony Boydell
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The weather closed in today, so we all hung around Moor Cottage and filled the morning with games while the womenfolk boiled up quite the most delicious chicken soup you've ever had the pleasure to 'sllllppp'. We're now on the fifth day WITHOUT the television going on (!) so, while it drizzled outside the patio doors, I introduced an eager group to Small World:



We only have the base game but, for five, that proved more than adequate; the delicious combinations of RACE + ABILITY brought forth the requisite chuckles from our Fantasy-aware friends: Bivouacking Skeletons, Diplomatic Giants and Seafaring Amazons variously making an appearance. It was quite a genteel game overall, despite much noisy bleating and negotiation from a supposedly-being-picked-on Benedict, as everyone took to overrunning - and being overrun - with good humour. The final reckoning of 73-72-72-69-48 saw Adam, once again, victorious (he's quite the one to watch); props must go, however, to the dynamic double-team of Lily (10) and Arthur (8), who saw their Tritons horribly massacred just one round in and didn't collapse proceedings by going off in a sulk! Good for them!

Various exploratory parties drifted in and out of the village (it's a generous 1/2 mile to the Post Office & Stores) for, well, sweets mainly; those remaining pottered about the house & grounds: the giant rope swing, mass hide 'n seek, lobbing the whistling ball for Ziggy dog until he can barely drag his little legs back and so on. The afternoon saw the arrival of Philippa and her son Pete (whom some of you may recall from previous 'Adventures in Gaming with Benedict') and the house is now feeling pretty darn full! There are a couple of Brothers-in-Law expected on Thursday too...unbeknownst to everyone else, so if you could keep it under your hat that would be much appreciated!

Tomorrow sees the great walk to Grosmont and the train ride round-trip that is, perhaps, my favourite thing to do on holiday - in the World - EVER! Ian and myself have prepared a little Live Roleplaying scenario for the youngsters to help the walking time pass more quickly: expect bruises and tales of great heroism and sacrifice.

In other news, I notice the great Gen Con buzz increasing in decibels; as with previous years, I shan't be making the trip - though, with Guilds of London, I am the closest I've ever come to actually hopping on a plane. I am a coward and a tight-fisted hand-at-the-grindstone, however, and balk at having to pay £1000+ for flights PLUS the cost of taking time off work: never say 'Never', of course, though it's probably as close to 'Never' as you can get.
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Wed Jul 27, 2016 6:30 am
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24 Years

Anthony Boydell
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Newent. Glos
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heart heart heart


Yesterday was Mrs B and my 24th Wedding Anniversary and we celebrated it, as we often do on our hols, on the beach and then in a posh restaurant; of course, the former accompanied by the many friends and family with whom we inhabit Moor Cottage and the latter just me & she.

heart heart heart


My day began (whilst still dark) with an unsettled Ziggy the Dog yapping in the pre-dawn murk, so I grabbed my pillow and lay on the sofa in the living room to keep him company; within moments we were both asleep again. The youngest two children klump-klumped down the stairs around 7AM, so they took the dog outside for his morning poo while I put the kettle on. There was a brief interlude while I wrestled with my own legs - on fire with itching, bitten by a thousand midges over the weekend - but a cool bath and an anti-histamine soon sorted them out.

The house woke slowly-but-steadily around us and we formulated our official day trip plans over four games of Thunder Road. New to it though Ian and Adam (his son) were, they took to it briskly and - in Adam's case - unassailably: winning the first three of our four games, he was only prevented from completing the whitewash (or should that be 'Car Wash'?*) in the fourth by the rest of us ganging up on him then racing a car off the second board to send his wrecks in to oblivion (anything on the 'behind' board when it's dumped gets dumped from the game also).



The boys then disappeared for an hour - until departure - to continue their Stormbringer RPG campaign (Adam is the referee and there are lots of chaotic fights, demons-imprisoned-in-swords and the like; they're loving it).

On the stroke of midday, we FINALLY managed to herd the 'cats' out of the house and off to the seaside: Boggle Hole, just around the coast from Robin Hoods Bay and one of our favourite places in the World:



The weather was perfect: cloudy with breaks of sun, a cool salty breeze and the tide almost completely out. Paddling, running the dog up and down the breaking surf...



...dead crabs, dead jellyfish, miming "Chariots of Fire', scoffing cold chicken sandwiches and fossil hunting against the occasionally collapsing shale cliffs. As it happened, I _did_ find a splendid Ammonite...only it was right in the middle of an enormous slab of beach bedrock:


So near...


Four hours later we dragged ourselves - bedraggled, salt-haired and sandy-toed - back home, collecting a scooby-snack sized tower of pizzas for everyone's supper. Inland it was a little brighter and warmer, so Mrs B and I left the others to their scoffing to do a little more high class scoffing of our own down at The Mallyan Spout** Hotel:


heart heart heart
Ham-hock scotch egg with crushed peas, truffled goat's cheese with beetroot, butternut squash risotto, calf's cheek with mustard mash and a chocolate marquise washed down with a Carmenere. No wafer-thin mint.


...and after such a rich and romantic meal, what better way to end the evening than with some "play time", eh?



That's right: the Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band jigsaw puzzle, bought for us as a Wedding present in 1992, is coming on great guns on the Moor Cottage living room table!

heart heart heart


*No...


**it's a waterfall, not far from us
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Tue Jul 26, 2016 10:39 am
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Boot Bargains!

Anthony Boydell
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Newent. Glos
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When the sun comes out and one has a goodly amount of free time at one's disposal, the traditional British response is to either
a) empty the house of crap and then try and sell it to a crowd of haggling strangers in a big field and/or
b) go to a big field and buy crap that people don't want in their house.

This is known as a 'Car Boot Sale'.

Yesterday, Sunday, while the rest of the (full) house was a-snooze, Arthur and I tootled over to Whitby and an enormous meadow behind the always-snigger-inducing Cross Butts Farm:



Amongst the usual avalanche of semi-melted DVDs, Top Of The Pops vinyl LPs, rusted garden implements and cheap sweets, the young lad - eager to spend some of his well-earned holiday money - and I found some excellent treasures:


Note: I have rare 1st and 2nd editions of the original Patience book at home; another edition for the collection!



Two very fine Transformers for £10 (the ubiquitous 'collector' stand was in the very LAST row we wandered)


And, for a paltry 50p, we also picked up this typically-understated Brit comic annual:

Spoiler (click to reveal)

Rockets! Dinosaurs! To most, this would be an astonishing experience...but, apparently, it's simply 'Ok'!
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Mon Jul 25, 2016 6:30 am
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Vlaada Against Humanity

Anthony Boydell
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Newent. Glos
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So it seems that Codenames is extending it's brand beyond words and pictures to now include specifically-naughty words for people too stupid to come up with puns and sous entendu themselves. Why crack an off-the-cuff remark because 'Helmet' and 'Purple' happen to be in the same tableau when the game now preprints 'Bell-end', 'Clam' and 'Jugs' under the explicit, box-printed intention of 'let's all be rude!'.

Why the hell does a smart, infinitely explorable Spiel des Jahres need to pander to this crass, lowest-common-denominator, Cards Against Humanity 'adult' bullshit? It's not 'adult', it's adolescent.

I like a rude joke, I like a double entendre - i'm always happy to give you one - but I like to think I aspire to 'wit' rather than just saying 'Boobs!' loudly in a bus queue. This is lazy and insulting...to ACTUALLY PRINT IT! What next Vlaada? Sex Dungeon Lords? Through the Vulva: A Story of Penetration? Galaxy Fuckers? Bunny Bunny Cunt Balls?

Oh dear oh dear oh bloody dear.
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Sun Jul 24, 2016 8:57 am
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Tiny, wee doggie stops play!

Anthony Boydell
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Newent. Glos
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After a six hour journey - two hours longer thanks to the generally poor approach to driving of the 'great British public' - we arrived and unpacked part 1 of the family's luggage. Part 2 was approximately three hours behind us in Mrs B's beetlingaboutmobile, along with Mrs B and youngest daughter.

The local supermarket delivery had been skillfully pre-arranged so, when the massively ginger-bearded driver halloo-ed us from the moors road, we - 'the boys' - made ourselves useful and put everything away. It was probably-pizza for supper, so we decided to enjoy the last remnants of a glorious day and wandered up the hill towards the Moors:

Great Uncle Frank could be seen arriving, with his ride-along lawn mower, from the false-summit rest bench, so we jogged back down - scraping our shins on the scrubby grass - to help him unload and to 'put the kettle on'. Frank likes a large mug of hot tea with honey in so, while he started the mower, I did the honours and 'brewed up'. So curious was Arthur that he blagged himself a driving lesson and a 20 minute session of cutting (see yesterday's video excerpt) ensued. Still no sign of the girls, so on went the oven and in went the pizzas; while the cheese bubbled, it was beholden upon Arthur and myself to give the new rope swing a proper examination (again, see yesterday). Bellies now full, we went back out to help with the taming of the (huge) garden and - finally - with the light/visibility fading, Mrs and Miss B joined us at last!

Saturday was an early start with Arthur - still in his pyjamas, he's only eight you know! - riding about the top meadow at 0700HRS performing the 'second cut' (the grass was that long that it took 'three cuts' to bring it down!). We did, between beverage boilings and trips to the shops, manage to play some games however: a brief Thunder Road to get us warmed up followed, after a massive dusky barbecue blowout with visiting relatives 'the Youngs', by the essential Molkky:



Rain Tiny, wee doggie stops play! Come BACK, you little bastard!


A gentle, if pollen saturated, beginning to our break; we've a couple of disparate parties joining us tomorrow and Tuesday, so we should all be well settled in by then!
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Sun Jul 24, 2016 6:50 am
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Asmodee = Asmodeus?

Anthony Boydell
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"Asmodee in Negotiations to Acquire F2Z Entertainment" it says in 'the news' and lo! doth the whine-y bitches descend in their (hopefully) sky-proof hats declaiming the ominous portent of a business conducting itself in a business-like fashion: "Oh but they'll have a monopoly now!" guff the wounded and the ever-so-tender-hearted, as they fear Mammon's scaly grip upon their wallets (clue: what about Hasbro and Mattel, eh? But they don't do 'proper' board games do they, so they don't actually count).

Apparently all prices will go up (again) and small businesses will go into bankruptcy (again) and how can we possibly stop them from stealing our children and raping our hamsters when THAT happens? (clue: none of this will happen). In reality you'll have to pay a fair price for Pandemic Legacy: Season Two so suck it up, ya big babies.



But wait! No 'free and intelligent' discussion* of this evil conglomerate is complete without the 'geek with real legal training' wading in and suggesting you log some official complaint with some official body OR others pronouncing that "I will never buy another Asmodee game again!" (who fucking cares?) OR others wringing their hands/gnashing their teeth at the sheer horrible oppressiveness of it all.

Here's a thought: it will either be fine or it won't...I just don't want to hear you bealing on about it (in that squeaky voice that I imagine you use while you're doing it). Asmodee are not evil, they make stuff and sell it; Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is evil, that fat twat lording it over North Korea is evil...

Anyway, bollocks to all of the geeky arse-gas; you should be doing something like this instead:



or, maybe, this:



A good day to you all.

*ie. exactly the same discussion they all had the LAST time Asmodee did something in tune with their mission statement/business plan
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Sat Jul 23, 2016 7:10 am
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Essentials

Anthony Boydell
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The family holiday approaches and, of course, games must be selected (and packed) according to the following criteria:

1. Suitable for the people who will be there to play them eg. Codenames, Isle of Skye, ThunderRoad etc;

2. Have some hope in Hell of actually being played; if it's going to occupy precious square metreage in the vehicle, it had better earn it's bloomin' keep at the other end! eg. Railroad Tycoons is great but Arthur's clothing for the duration would fit in the box; my complete everything-Agricola wooden treasure chest is wonderful but no-one will play THAT version with me AND it weighs as much as Arthur does*;

3. Is something that I, (me: Tony), am happy to TEACH eg. not ever having played Roads & Boats or my uber-minty and rare 1829, this is not the time to 'learn'...which reminds me:

4. Is something of no great scarcity or particular value: we're on holiday and there'll be sand and fizzy drinks; and,

5. Is something that I, (me: Tony), am happy to PLAY (as it's likely to be me that initiates the majority of the tabletop sesions).

So, this is my final selection:





*for those thinking about it: leaving Arthur behind is NOT an option.
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Fri Jul 22, 2016 9:53 am
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