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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

Archive for Tony Boydell

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Buying Back The Past

Anthony Boydell
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I have many things to thank my time ‘working away in London’ for (money, project experience etc) but - best of all – it extended my repertoire of gaming:

From:
‘Magic: The Gathering with occasional board games’

To:
‘Board Games with occasional (and now ‘No’) Magic: The Gathering’.

Magic: The Gathering evenings used to begin with choffing Supper at an adjacent Harvester accompanied by TCG strategy chatter; over time; slowly (and almost imperceptably), this migrated to quick games of Glory to Rome or Race for the Galaxy or Notre Dam and then, around 2009, we stopped wandering over to the M:TG draft altogether and just stayed in the Restaurant. This was the period where I was being exposed to the widest variety of classic and new games of Medium complexity and above; you see, prior to this fertile period and outside TCGs, I was a “light” gamer; Stone Age was a revelation (!), St Petersburg a delight. It took my most excellent and honourable gaming pals Richard, Jon, Jimmy, Steve, Steve, Ian and Ray to open my eyes...and also to remind me, on an all-too-regular basis, what it was like to come DEAD LAST! Still, the best way to learn is by doing…and we did a lot of ‘doing’ in the late noughtees/early noughteens!

It’s been three years since we were a regular item and I recently began a process of reclaiming those ‘good times’ by finding myself copies of the games that were so informative and influential; thus I have now located my own (often first edition) copies of Power Grid (plus EVERY map, promo and goodie), 1829, Through the Ages, Brass, Phoencia, League of Six, Age of Steam, Caylus, Blue Moon City, Wealth of Nations, Macao, In The Year of the Dragon and Wallenstein. If we didn’t already have access to Princes of Florence, El Grande and Puerto Rico in the Ross-on-Wye group, I’d be after them as well!

So, is there anything left on ‘the list’ that I need to find?

Well, I wouldn’t say ‘No’ to Railroad Tycoons, Thunderstone (original) or Dungeon Lords; can anyone in the UK, possibly coming to the UK Games Expo, supply my need?
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Today 4:07 pm
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Politics Schmolitics

Anthony Boydell
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If you live in Great Britain, please click here:
Spoiler (click to reveal)

Boris Johnson, that Hoover bag stuffed with cat hair and dogshit, found buried in a Cardiff Car Park!


If you live outside Great Britain, please click here:
Spoiler (click to reveal)

Donald Trump, that be-wigged barking scrotum of tanning fluid, found buried in a Cardiff Car Park!

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Wed May 4, 2016 6:30 am
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Black Dog (Take 2)

Anthony Boydell
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Some of you may have noticed that my original post for today has disappeared: deleted, in fact. There's nothing suspicious or underhand about it's removal, just that I was overly gloomy. Bad things happen, awkward things happen and things that could be one or the other (but only time will tell) happen too. As our next big show approaches, my natural anxiety about everything being 'ready' and 'just right' is increasing; in an odd sense, I'm now wishing the whole thing was over...four weeks before it's due to start! You'd think I'd have all the information and experience necessary to breeze through these situations now but, if anything, it's getting harder. Occasionally, I wonder if I'm approaching some kind of mid-life crisis: kids getting older and moving away, 50th birthday approaching, aches and pains that amplify in to 3am night terrors and extreme frustration/boredom with 'the day job'. I've not bought myself a sports car or taken up with a younger woman BUT I have been toying with getting a motorbike again - the history of men my age doing that under the influence of a fifth decade wobble is not good, however! No. Nothing terrible is happening - at least not yet - so I'll try and find something to distract me in the meantime.

Now, if you'll excuse me, they've run out of paper in this cubicle so I'll have to shuffle forth-and-back to an adjacent one for supplies.

Good day to you.
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Tue May 3, 2016 9:11 am
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The Well-Read Wedding

Anthony Boydell
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Despite having had the invitation for well over 6 months, my arrangements to attend Sebastian and Caroline's wedding were a little shaky come the middle of last week; issues at home, and a hospitalized eldest daughter in New Zealand, had Mrs B and me somewhat knotted up in anxiety. At one point it seemed Mrs B would be flying out on an ASAP 'hang the cost just get me there' booking to the other side of the world leaving me in charge at Casa Boydell! Thankfully, a recovery was made and the emotional volume dropped to more sane levels...and my opportunity to wish these most excellent gaming pals well was back on.

Though there was no time to sort out a costume (the theme was 'gaming fancy dress'), I did manage to sort out a long-intended present for them both:


The original art wot I did for the cover of Seb's superb (if woefully underrated) On The Cards


I'd also been contacted by designer, developer, blogger and all-round industry 'good guy' Seth Jaffee as to possibly filling Saturday afternoon (Saturday being the day BEFORE the actual Wedding) with some play-testing; joining us in the affirmative on the brief email round-robin was Matthew Dunstan (Elysium, Relic Runners, Snowdonia: Trans-Australian Railway etc) and, thus, 'twas arranged.


Big place.


I checked in and, pleasingly, discovered that my room was only a couple of minutes hike from the main reception and restaurant, despite the Hotel and Conference centre taking up an amount of space equivalent to Heathrow Airport...it seems the place is so big it has multiple Postal Codes! Matt was resting in one of the foyer armchairs, a huge rucksack at his feet, while Seth was gesticulating wildly and describing the woes of his lost luggage. While he, and his fiancee, tried to find the hotel's laundry (where other essentials were being refreshed), Matt and I hogged ourselves a table in the Bar and set work on his Civilisation: The Deck Building Game prototype:

In Summary: Cards, from seeded Age decks, are available to be bought in a pool - as are a couple of at-all-times 'basics' - and are then added to your discard pile. The cards provide increasing quantities of one of three basic resources (Technology, Production and Military) and cost - as you would expect - resources: so far, so what? The neat bit is how you activate the cards you've collected...

You have a tableau of nine cards (3x3) and on your turn you choose a Row and an intersecting Column to use; each card provides it's resources and/or other ability/effect which lets you buy things (production & Tech), build Wonders (Production) and conquer provinces (Military). Once you're done, you discard the used cards and deal new cards in to the spaces (top down, left-to-right) until your 3x3 is whole again. Other effects allow you to 'trash' weaker 'start game' cards from your deck (Dominion Chapel-like) to improve draw quality. At game end, a series of categories are evaluated with the 'best' player(s) gaining VPs; after all categories are done, the player with the most points is the winner.


It felt very clean and mature; I enjoyed the smoothness of play very much - anyone who is familiar with Dominion et al would have no trouble picking up and running with it within a few seconds. One to watch out for!

Seth and Michelle arrived, still waiting on news of their lost property, so I forgot to take a photo of the final layout (Matt won 3-2) and (instead) we bought some drinks at got stuck in to another Dunstan prototype - this time VERY WELL ADVANCED INDEED - and a second collaboration with fellow Cambridger Chris Marling (Empire Engine):


Frontiers Pioneers! A dice-drafting Euro!


In Summary: A number of coloured dice (5 colours) are drawn from a bag and rolled (player count +1) each turn; the start player for the round will get to roll a set twice, everyone else once. In order, players draft one die and can either use the value to either:
- Take an action (1=Choose any action, 2=Mine a VP chit from a bag, 3=Take 1 Equipment, 4=Take 1 Cow, 5= Take 1 Wood, 6=Take 1 Medicine) OR
- Take money (equal to the pips) OR
- Take a Townsfolk card from the array corresponding to the die pips

The final, unclaimed, die is used to advance one of the four Disaster tracks of the same colour; a purple die, if untaken, advances ALL the Disaster tracks by one.

Resources gained are used to help when Disasters occur (Wood repairs wagons in storms, medicine saves collected townsfolk from diseases, money pays for cattle feed) or, in the case of Raids, everyone loses half their money. They are also used for paying Favours at the end of a Round when a 'town' is evaluated - at the start of the game, the towns are laid out in a line so we all know what goods they want - and favours are worth 4VP each and are an essential source of your final points total.

Wagons can be bought to carry all the things you are buying, cows follow along behind your wagon train (and score at the end of the round) and the townsfolk - if they survive illness - also provide game-end scoring criteria.


I thought this was bloody terrific! It flows smoothly and is uncomplicated and uncluttered while still providing lots of interesting decisions! One essential path is to collect Equipment tiles because they are key-ed to a die action number and give you extra stuff when that action number is taken eg. I decided to go all out cow and loaded up with '4' equipment that, at one point, gave me 2 cows+1 medicine+1 wood+2 money every time I took the 'Take 1 cow' action! Seth was just as abusive with his '6 equipment'...but he did have 'The Doc' and 'The Doc's Daughter' in his Townsfolk too! My cows sent me off in to a huge lead as we approached the game end but it wasn't quite enough to stop Matt; Seth and Michelle languished a fair way behind...poor Seth lost a number of townsfolk early when I deliberately let a yellow die stay untaken to trigger a disease for which he was woefully-unprepared!

The afternoon had run away with us and it was time to get some supper; the happy couple were gathering family and friends in a side room so we joined them and spent the rest of the night eating, drinking, laughing and talking about games! As I drifted off to Dreamland, circa 1AM, the Fire Alarm went off and I was forced to shamble - blearily - through to the Reception in my PJs, woolly hat and raincoat. The next morning I found this slipped under the door:


At least they said 'Sorry'; I don't envy the staff who must've had to post these to 1000 or so rooms!


Sunday dawned VERY bright and sunny, if nose-nippingly chilly, and I breakfasted alone with my current reading matter '1971: Never a dull moment (Rock's Golden Year) by David Hepworth. The Service and Reception weren't until 2PM, so after polishing off the 'Fried English', it was back to the Bar to prepare for more playtesting with Seth and Matt and, on his way from his nearby Mother's, Brett J. Gilbert (Elysium, Divinare etc)! Generously stocked up with coffee, I tried out the latest version of Danse Macabre with Brett, Matt and Seth - none of whom have been tainted by previous playtests like the grumpy, complaining Ross-on-Wye crowd! As it turned out, Brett grumpily-complained all the way through the draft and then crushed us in the playing out phase! The post-play chat was extremely helpful as I steered the discussion to coming up with an alternate drafting approach; indeed, using (Brett's) Divinare card-passing/card-playing mechanism, we hit upon quite a major new idea to explore:

Instead of drafting everything and then playing everything...draft X cards then play them, draft Y cards and then play X+Y cards and then draft Z cards and then play X+Y+Z cards.

This allows players to see what others are collecting and, if necessary, adjust their picks accordingly and/or 'hate draft'. Allowing players to ignore a card's ability and, instead, play it face-down for a fixed effect also offers an incentive for shenanigans. The Danse goes on...

The Matrimonial clock stood at minus 90 minutes, so just enough time to get our teeth in to a Seth prototype:


Working title: Deities & Demigods


In summary: Each player has a mat with an asymetric ability and six 'God' tracks; each track covers a different ability split in to ascending quantities eg. gain influence (turn order), gain money (moving up a track), gain/move armies, gain/move fleets, build artificts/buildings/monuments and get people out of the Underworld. Each turn, a God card is drawn from a deck and each player - in order - can choose to play gold to move up that God's track (1 for 1 space, 3 for 2, 6 for 3) OR take the benefit of that God based on where your marker is on that track e.g. in the picture, the Hermes track could give me 1 Gold (gah!) or I could pay 3 gold to move up and - when Hermes is activated later - gain 8 gold. The aim is to move fleets and armies around the terrain board and build in cities (building cards "do things"), control cities (have the most pieces for game-end VPs) and complete quests. Artifacts and monuments also have effects that improve your actions, increase your 'minimum track point' for a God and "do more things". In a neat twist, whenever the Hera God card appears, a new God card is added to the bottom of that deck (start player chooses) and rounds go on longer and multiple appearances of the same God can be triggered.

We had to finish a round early as there was barely time for Seth to change in to his outfit (he was 'The Passenger' from On the Underground) but it was involving and engaging enough. It still feels like more player interaction is needed though, I believe, combat was removed from a previous version and that removal might have been too extreme: Seth's a smart bloke and a fastidious designer, so I have no doubt this will turn out great in the end.

And now to the main event, our raison d'etre ici: the Ceremony Room, overlooking a magnificent lawn bathed in gorgeous sunshine, was buzzing with excited conversation and an eye-mageddon of game-related costumes:

Paul and Richard 'I say!' Breese; Matt (I think) Something and Ian Vincent (Fruit Bandits, Ticket To Ride: India map);
David Brain* (Key Market) and Alan Paull (Tara Seat of Kings, Siege, Confucius etc); persons unknown in awesome
apparel and, of course, the inevitable twatting about Selfie (me, Brett, Matt and Richard)!


The Master of Ceremonies, a rotund Richard Griffiths look-alike who really loved the sound of his own voice, coached us on the history of the local Registry Office, the hotel and why brides are on the congregation's left, the groom on the right**. Brett and I muttered "Thanks very much, now fuck off" as the Bride turned up and saved us from more droning boredom!


Caro and Sebi: Two become one with a giant, flourescent-pink dil biro.


Rousing cheers and applause greeted the 'man and wife' declaration and we poured out in to the glorious P.M for photographs; 'game designers' were up first, then we were crocodile-d through a series of corridors and passageways to an open courtyard for nibbles and champers: huzzah! There was plenty of time before the Wedding Breakfast, so we chatted with Reiner Knizia about his stuff, our stuff and everyone else's stuff; he even snaffled the last paté-based petit fours WHICH HE KNEW I WANTED...but I deferred to his superior reputation, tugged my forelock*** and backed off****

Because I am an intelligent person who thinks about these things, I'd packed Mölkky for just this kind of eventuality, so a crowd of us wandered to the terrace - not far from the Ha-Ha - and set up some Darts-with-Skittles awesomeness...and what an hilarious time we had! For half-an-hour we were chucking, scoring and howling in merriment at near-misses, trajectorial ineptitude and the daftness of it all. Despite my heckling, Richard Breese managed a skillful victory in our 'pod', whilst Charlie Paull (eventually) brought her group's marathon game to a merciful end. Such was the joviality as we returned to the bar for refreshments that I think I may have been responsible for selling another 8 copies of this gem!

And so to dinner in the Chapel:


Left: A Keyflower-esque house for every guest containing home-made chocolate lego pieces...well, we ARE in Windsor, after all!
Right: Seth and Michelle - blurred, but happy.


Salmon and miniature blackberries of caviar to start, guinea fowl breast for main and Old Windsor Mess for dessert: yummy! We discussed Harry Potter, group game theory and upcoming publishing projects then the Bride popped over to point us in the direction of the magnificent cake (see below) and to find out if I'd managed to insult/offend everyone on the table yet? She and a few others were running a sweepstake, apparently; as it turned out, Seth was the only one who felt un-aggrieved, so I called him a cunt and let Caroline walk away with the winnings. That's typical me, you see; always happy to help.


So many references to Sebastian's games: magnificent!


The speeches followed and were, as expected, warm and funny and touching and heartfelt and awkward and all the other things that make them so brilliant. Coffee - while the Chapel was being reset for the 'disco' - was accompanied by mints and even more gaming chat and then it was time for me to drive home. I dropped David Brain off at the railway station before heading West to a soundtrack of Jellyfish's all killer, no filler Spilt Milk.

Congratulations, Sebastian and Caroline! Thanks for inviting me to share your wonderful, WONDERFUL day!



*I'd not expected the Spanish Inquisition
**so he can get his 'sword' out, if necessary
***stop it!
****"Leave it, Tony; he's not wurffit!" etc

Bonus Feature: Some of the Wedding telegrams:


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Mon May 2, 2016 2:54 pm
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Mawage is wot bwings us togeder tooday.

Anthony Boydell
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Today, around about 2PM, Mr Sebastian Bleasdale will be marrying Miss Caroline Elliot in the
company of family, friends and a few rowdy game designers! Here, then, is a little tribute to this
most Happy of Days!

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Sun May 1, 2016 7:16 am
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Not even room for a wafer-thin mint!

Anthony Boydell
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Ho, ho, ho! Young Stuart in that other daily blog was complaining about being short-changed of a games evening ie. turning up and managing one and a half 'things' before the bugle parps it's melancholic recall. So, it's going to be a bit of an insult to add the record of last night's Ross-on-Wye club session:

Recipe pour un nuit de jeux (pronounced "Inuit Dirger")
1 x Jobbers (Mature and spicy)
1 x Boffo (Well-marinated)
1 x Boddle (Cheesy old ham)
1 x Smudge (to garnish)
Ale
Pineapple Juice & Lemonade
Cider
No Pork Scratchings!



1 x Bohemian Villages
Much to my own palette, this perky little dice-rolling amuse bouche provides a lip-smackable opening to the gaming repast. Boffo took the Bishop early and used him for the remainder - albeit playing fast-and-loose with the 'Take your Church income BEFORE you roll your dice - no backsies' published rule! That, and Jobbers indifference - this treat was sticking firmly in his craw - to Boffo's amassing of game-end bonuses meant the Happy Huffer pipped me by three money.

1 x Mercante
Something more filling for Jobbers, then, after his sour-faced tongue scraping at the end of the starter. Boffo, tired and emotional after a long week, rambled through the rules somewhat loosely and after 10 minutes I was still none the wiser. Despite my sighs of dread, we kicked off and, once my palette had adjusted (and I took smaller mouthfuls), the course wasn't quite as bland as I first thought. In summary: you gain goods via an every-turn auction and then using workers - you start with two - sell them for cash and/or "contract" VPs; you can buy more workers, take special cards, increase your resource warehouses and buy more VPs. There seemed to be a lot of ingredients making up a stodgy dish but by the second half it was breezing along with some vigour; not remarkable, then, but diverting enough.

1 x Clacks: A Discworld Board Game
Jobbers, now fully recovered from his Bohemian Villages-induced dyspepsia after a (comfortable) Mercante win, rummaged in Boffo's baggage for this tile-flipping, Pratchett-themed abstract. In summary: Letters are represented by a 2x3 tile array alphabet and you need to reproduce the configurations - one letter at a time - of your given 'message word' on the central 4x4 lantern board. You move your Engineer about, at a cost of 1 Stress, and then play one or more tiles (not taking your Stress total over 5) from your hand to flip lanterns according to the configuration on the tile; if your Engineer is in the middle of a 2x3 array of lanterns that match the letter you're trying to 'send', then you mark it off on your word card...first to fill their card is the winner. Apart from the massive AP trying to work out how to flip the lanterns AND apart from the unfill-able downtime between your turns because the lantern array will have changed hugely when it comes round to you again AND apart from the random draw of 'Take That!' cards gifted by playing a randomly-drawn tile-flipping tile, what did we think? Well, the rule book has a clever cover homage to Haynes' car manuals.

1 x Glass Road
To take the edge off the previous course having 'gone down the wrong way', there was no doubt - despite my waggling of the new edition of Agricola - that we would choose Uwe's splendid meaty filler. Slow and careful mastication delivered a satisfying pat-the-belly result 16.5 -17-18.

'Pudding' and 10.30 and and Smudge approached, so we finished this extensive feast (goodness! I don't think I could eat another morsel!) with some sweet treats:
1 x Sushi Go!, and
1 x For Sale
Smudge proved superior in the consumption of these sugary confections, gleefully polishing off all opposition (and pipping me TWICE from the top spot). Perhaps if we'd not already gorged ourselves, we'd have put up more of a fight? Nah. She's just not got eyes bigger than her stomach, is all.

We're greedy, greedy boys.
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Sat Apr 30, 2016 6:45 am
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It's not you, it's me

Anthony Boydell
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I've had to script a Bio for myself on several occasions and, rather than just cut-and-paste the same one, I relish giving it a bit of a spin. Of course, I'm uber-super-duper-succint above but would that it were so simple in younger times; here, for example, is the one from the (excellent) Brett J. Gilbert's (excellent) Good Little Games website (http://www.goodlittlegames.co.uk)

About the designer
Tony Boydell was born in 1967 and is still unable to come to terms with all that this implies. He has a large army of children and a shed with a lock on the inside of the door. He’s an IT professional, but doesn’t let that intrude too much into the important business of game design. He enjoys wine gums, lamb tikka massala and writing a blog on BoardGameGeek, sometimes all at once.


Of course, I've had an 'About Me' page on the Surprised Stare Games Ltd website for donkeys; though, looking at it again, I think the SSG elves have been in recently to give it a polish:

Tony has been designing and developing games for quite a long time now and is STILL convinced that he knows what he's doing. He injects them with his distinct sense of geekiness and humour, and illustrates them with his own effective cartoon-style artwork. Tony designed Surprised Stare's first game, Coppertwaddle in 2000 and has followed this with Bloody Legacy, Scandaroon, Fzzzt!, Totemo, Paperclip Railways, Snowdonia, Ivor The Engine and Guilds of London. He writes a regular blog on BoardGameGeek where anything and everything game-related is discussed, dissected and (often) ridiculed. Tony likes white chocolate buttons and is sickened by parsley.

Waaaaay back - choking in the primordial steam of the Internet - I'd built my own website on a local Herefordshire server and spent many happy hours drafting my Star City Games MTG articles there. The 'who the Hell he?' page started off with this rambling, incoherent bunkum:

Underlined Paragraph Title
Once upon a time (a long time ago - February 1967 to be precise) in a little town called Newport (South Wales), an unfertilised egg took a trip on the tube where it met some sperm; not being ova confident, the egg waited for the little wrigglers to make the first move. The sperm, obviously interested in such a fine egg, begin fighting amongst themselves until one took the initiative…he and she became inseparable and got a womb together - then came the sudden split...


It's a good job that's hard to find now! Meanwhile, on Star City itself, what's left of my two year tenure (1999-2001) of blithering, irreverent bull-shine is now quietly headlined with:

One of StarCityGames.com's oldest writers (though not in terms of age, though perhaps he is), Tony Boydell delights in writing about the strangest bits of Magic play.

Ah, Star City! Still thriving, of course, but there were LOADS of us back then all cultivating celebrity, some more successfully than others eg. Anthony Alongi, Jamie Wakefield, Alice Coggins, 'The Ferrett' and Jon 'Friggin' Rizzo. Personally, I liked to figuratively stand at the back and lob metaphorical rocks at everyone else; relentlessly taking the emblematic piss.

Actually, maybe, I should re-visit the 'Shed' blurb; after five years it needs some 'touching up'. What do you suggest?
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Fri Apr 29, 2016 6:30 am
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They all know Dyna is dynamite (and they're right)

Anthony Boydell
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Quote:
As is my occasional wont, I trawl through the earliest Shed archives and re-present a curiosity for your delectation. Today's wobbly transition to the Past takes us to the end of 2012 - about six weeks after Snowdonia had launched at Essen Spiel - and all my attention is focused on my two biggest, bouncing game-babies!

Three years, five expansions, several promos, Ivor the Engine and the incarceration of one of the below attendees have passed since I tapped in this enthusiastic and un-knowing session report...makes you wonder, doesn't it?

My pre-occupations are still the same!


Part 1: Side A

Quote:
From the first playtests of that week in December, 2012

The evenings gaming diversions started with a couple of playtest games of Guilds of London – a 2 with Carl and myself, followed by a 3 with the early-finish Richard.

Generally, I am happy with it though there is a particular niggle about card-drawing that tends to surface when TCG-ers give it a go. As a card-driven game, I want people to see and use lots of cards in the playing (obviously) – searching for combos, having explosive turns etc equals ‘a good thing’ but one needs to make sure you don’t get a runaway leader: repeatedly playing out your hand and then being able to refill it fully all the time != ‘a good thing’. The hand size in my preferred test version of the game has, up until now, been 9 – plenty of room to save cards for repeated ‘biggies’ – and after Richard’s frenetic activity in the 3pl I’m temporarily reducing that to 7 to see what happens. Trying to get the balance between developing a satisfying play experience and avoiding one-sidedness is hard, dammit! I must admit to getting a little ‘animated’ as the barrage of feedback offered plenty of insights about what was wrong and why but precious little about how to fix it – that’s what the five minutes at bedtime (after ‘lights out’) is for, of course – lying in the darkness, mulling one’s conundrum.

Part 2: Side AA

Quote:
From the second session of that week in December, 2012


With several members (ie. most) of our 'player pool' living south of the M4, it's somewhat selfish to expect them to trog up to High Wycombe every week so we split to traveling and meet them in Maidenhead. Recently, the Shire Horse - franchise pub with a faux rural atmos - has proved popular due it's mix of convenient geography, tasty food and 20% off vouchers. Tonight it was Little Jim and Mossy joining the big man Carl and myself on Table 6...not our usual berth but one to which we were directed by the 'afternoon shift'. Cue, in the middle of a 3 player Guilds of London, dumpy Eastern European 'manageress' complaining that because we weren't on Table 30 (as per) and on Table 6 instead, she was going to have to move people around to fit in. Er...excuse me, but we only went where we were sodding well told, missus. Oh, and while I'm turning purple with the petty-fogging bureaucracy of it all, isn't managing tables and table allocations YOUR BLOODY JOB AND NOT MINE? *seethe*



Continuing what turns out to have been a Surprised Stare Games Ltd play-test week in Bucks, the main game for the evening was a run through of the Jungfrau scenario for Snowdonia. Long in gestation, this alternative Mountain Railway was being tweaked and twiddled way before Blaenau Ffestiniog. The scenario changes the base game in a number of subtle, but challenging ways:
Fog is gone (so you can work all the time) but is replaced by Snow! Snow fills up empty excavation spaces...so you need to dig all over again
The game no longer 'builds stations' with Events, instead you have more Snow
You need dynamite! To blast special (initial) track cards to reveal between 1 and 3 normal track cards AND to clear out entire spaces (you don't keep the rubble if you do). Excavation becomes much more interesting as you can split rubble-collecting and blowing stuff up!


Quote:
To be honest, there's not anything subtle about the Jungfrau scenario! It's got dynamite! Which blasts away rubble cubes!


Carl picked up a new Contract Card bonus at the start - 0.5VP per spare iron ore or stone at game end - and then hoarded resources for the rest of the game; this was, as predicted by myself, a successful strategy for LOSING, but Carl persisted. Consequently, the bag emptied and there were lots of Events! I made sure I capitalized on a number of key cards myself and strolled to a 40+ point victory over the others. I'm glad Carl tried this - if only to prove the point that it certainly doesn't benefit the hoarder - but it was a little frustrating for the others (I was OK as I had a plan!). This was a very successful play-test, as the only tweak I'm going to make is to remove the offending hoard-encouraging bonus altogether!

Quote:
I'm not sure what I was thinking with this card in the first place; how could it ever be anything else but game-killing? *sheesh*


I sat out to watch a 3 player Guilds of London - Mossy wanted to give it a try - and saw the 7 card hand limit (see Side A) working very well indeed! Little Jim, one of the most experienced GoL testers, said he found it much more challenging which is EXCELLENT news! Carl, however, seems to have clicked into a harmonic Guildish groove and is proving quite tough to beat.

We rounded off with the super-duper Guildhall (sore-fingered me, having sleeved the big man's copy during GoL) with Carl - once-a-bloody-gain - hitting 20 points exactly the same round that most of the rest of us were going to!

Only ice awaited us in the car park; snow would've been too serendipitous.
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Thu Apr 28, 2016 6:23 am
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Blogged Nose

Anthony Boydell
United Kingdom
Newent. Glos
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*snurggle*

There's a bloke id the Cardiff office whose built lyge Shreg and thubs his heavy-footstebbing way back-and-forth through our bank of desgs, wheezin like a bellows. He also seebs to be suffering frob the World's Longest Cold, sniffing and expectorating as he feeds reab-after-reab of paper waste through the shredder - you feel ill just watching him shabble and hack across the industrial weave carbet!

*cough*

Yesderday, while I was drybing to Merthyr Tydfil, I sneezed and sneezed and sneezed until the widscreedwybers priddy much needed to be on the idside. By the tybe I pargged up I was dew-eyed and sore-throaded and I could hear the gozed of the lumberig snoddy bastard larffig ad me and the high-pidged wheeeeeeeeeeee of blogged passidges.

*eurgh*

I sped the day honkig gallods of mucous idto nabkids, dabbing my weebing eyes and jederally feelig sorry for myselv...while havig to sit through log meedigs.

So, for today's blog, I sid tybig by the light of my throbbig doze.



*eurgh*
(wud more for lug)
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Wed Apr 27, 2016 6:30 am
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Well, really!

Anthony Boydell
United Kingdom
Newent. Glos
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It's great when a designer you respect and admire wins an Award...only I never win one, so...

...anyway: this popped up in my Facebook feed last night:



surprise

Bloody Hell; there's no need to rub it in (that's proper swearing, that is)!

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Tue Apr 26, 2016 6:18 am
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