Everyone Needs A Shed

Life and Games (but mostly games) from Tony Boydell: Father, Grandfather, Husband and Independent UK Game Designer.

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There's no such thing as bad weather (just the wrong clothes)

Anthony Boydell
United Kingdom
Newent. Glos
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Work-induced indolence is a pernicious thing and, combined with dodgy weather, can make you forget to move almost entirely! Indeed, I gaped in horror at my Fitbit's pronouncement that I'd done fewer than 1000 steps on Tuesday - probably taken up almost entirely with loo-breaks given the vast quantity of coffee and tea imbibed!
From gallery of tonyboydell

No, indeed; Wednesday dawned grey and soggy but I determined to "fuck this for a game of soldiers" and wandered off into the be-puddled countryside. Almost immediately it began to rain but a thick coat, big wellies and a woolly hat kept me snug enough - as someone once remarked: "There's no such thing as bad weather just the wrong clothes!"
From gallery of tonyboydell

The sky was a carpet of fuzzy grey that kept breaking open with windows of blue; fifty percent of my venturing was dry enough to have the iPhone on speaker - playing XTC's Skylarking - while the rest was shower-spattered and stormy.
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From gallery of tonyboydell

I cared not a jot: the sickly-sweet odour of fermenting, windfallen apples accompanied the orchard sections...
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From gallery of tonyboydell

...mid-calf deep lakes drowned the acres of cut maize stalks...
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From gallery of tonyboydell

...streams roared and thick, thunderous grumblings rolled over May Hill.
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From gallery of tonyboydell

Entirely free to wander, unflustered by the wellbeing/location of Ziggy (who was off being trimmed), I pushed further afield - deliberately delaying that turnaround point until a cold, protesting nose - and thoughts of a big beef pie for lunch - brought me home.
From gallery of tonyboydell

The Portrait of the Artist as an Old Man.

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Fri Nov 25, 2022 6:15 am
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R2-DimSum

Anthony Boydell
United Kingdom
Newent. Glos
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Microbadge: I love Europe!Microbadge: 5 Games for Doomsday fanMicrobadge: Talk Talk fanMicrobadge: Citizenship Recognition - Level VI -  Is six any more shiny? ... Well, it's one shinier isn't it? ... Okay, why don't you just make five a bit more shiny and then that would be the most shiny? ... Because these go to six.Microbadge: Iain Banks fan
I walked between the raindrops to get the Museum warm prior to the arrival of the Wednesday gamers and bumped into Property Manager, Alys, wrapping strings of fake Fir around the building's pillars: Santa is coming to switch on the Newent lights at the weekend, so The Shambles is undergoing a magical Winter wonderland transformation*.

I had a few chores to scratch off my list but was soon joined by various regulars as well as a new face: Jon. Gary had a battered copy of RoboRally, so took the Henlys - and Jon - on a wild ride of uncontrollable automatons:
From gallery of tonyboydell

I warned them of the chaos that would, shortly, ensue...

Richard, Sandra and Joe joined me for my second go at Rise:
From gallery of tonyboydell

Tracks, tracks and - for good measure - even more tracks! Movement on one may trigger movement on another and so on. The core is the selection of an action for each round where 'the further right, the more expensive'; given that the action cards come out in 'Eras' - and randomly within each Era - you might find the one you want (or can afford) closer. The benefit of placing rightwise comes with the interleaved Events - an event triggers for everyone 'still ahead of it', so you can get some juicy bonuses before you even get to resolve your actual turn!

The last time I played, both Gerv and I got stuck on a penalty space that prevented us using our 'Schoolbooks' (bonus tiles given free track bumps) which proved to be pretty crippling, for a while at least, so I made sure to point out this particular bear trap in the teach. After a couple of tentative rounds, we four fair whistled through the remainder and rolled up for a tight photo-finish between Joe and myself; and, just like our debut post-Essen, Joe took various early VP losses to set up his position and then sprinted forward to take the win.

Will joined us mid "first game" so occupied himself with a Museum wander and reading through a book on the history of Mornington Crescent**; when the robotic fiddlers had finished their chaotic programming, we rotated the tables and he joined the other for some card play:
From gallery of tonyboydell

Will seems most comfortable with 'card games'; less so with modern board games


For our own further entertainment, the table of five was introduced to the glorious world of Chinatown - that loose-in-the-wild copy I nabbed from Bath:
From gallery of tonyboydell

Oh, the joy of negotiation! Richard seemed rather reluctant to 'give' anything away and held himself back somewhat; both Jon and I conspired, thanks to some adjacent property cards, on a monumentally-lucrative Antiques business; Paul and I went percentages on a Tropical Fish venture but I re-did the deal later to free myself of this hanger-on! It was Sandra, though, who produced the biggest scare when she had a wonderful Round 5: turning a lonely Jewellery store sector into a thriving business centre earning her $300,000 a round! That stormed her into second place - with just over a million dollars - but it was my own dodgy deal-making and ebullient patter that saw me to victory! I'm pretty sure they won't let me get away with it next time...

A full session, indeed; and home found me in a toasty, wood-stoved living room for a couple of episodes of The Crown - addictive viewing as Mrs B and I remember all of that stuff happening 'the first time around'! Of course, given I met Her Majesty during the mid-1990s at work (I represented my entire Department), I loudly-mused as to which actor would be playing me in this drama?!

*you will recall the appearance of cardboard snowman, Lumi, a few weeks ago
**chuckling away in the background
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Thu Nov 24, 2022 10:23 am
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Lions without any Pride

Anthony Boydell
United Kingdom
Newent. Glos
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Have to say that I feel rather confused and disappointed with this:
From gallery of tonyboydell

Quite how Dobble fits in to a murderous, medieval regime is a mystery to me; I don't remember any of the symbols being an homophobic dinosaur, an oppressed LGBTQ+ snowman and/or a murdered Nepalese worker?!

I shan't, of course, be watching/supporting this World Cup appalling shit show; instead, here's a picture of a real hero:
From gallery of tonyboydell

Alex Scott, Professional Footballer & Stellar Human Being.
https://www.theguardian.com/football/2022/nov/21/bbc-alex-sc...
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Wed Nov 23, 2022 6:15 am
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An Heavy Sigh

Anthony Boydell
United Kingdom
Newent. Glos
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Got a touch of the blues today...
From gallery of tonyboydell

...so I tried to cheer myself up with a bit of a wander down Memory Lane.

The first image I uploaded to my personal BGG 'space' was this one (no.959447) in April, 2011:
From gallery of tonyboydell

A Paperclip Railways promo!

Added only a few weeks after I started this very blog, pretty much every picture I've used since lives within a Tony Zone and - consequently - doesn't seem to count for any Image Uploader plaudits - this is a shame as I'm 4200+ images in...

Curiously, Paperclip Railways is in the forefront of my mind again as I'm working with LudiCreations to bring a new, refurbished and reimagined version of it to you sometime in 2023 (or, possibly, 2024).

Talking of gentle pacing, I found out yesterday that the EN edition of Aleph Null was stuck in German customs, post-Spiel, but is now in transit. It should be available for pre-ordering via the Capstone Games site sometime in December for delivery in early 2023.

That was a lovely distraction.

*heavy sigh*
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Tue Nov 22, 2022 1:02 pm
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@shitgamerpuns 196

Anthony Boydell
United Kingdom
Newent. Glos
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Every homo sapiens needs an outbuilding within the curtelage of their property
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From gallery of tonyboydell
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Mon Nov 21, 2022 6:20 am
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Manifesto?!

Anthony Boydell
United Kingdom
Newent. Glos
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I am really pleased to have secured some facsimiles of late 19th C Milton Bradley toy and game catalogues because - well - it's only bloody MB Games, innit?! I've got several examples of other company brochures and they give a wonderful picture of the Hotness from back in the day.
From gallery of tonyboydell

What I hadn't expected to find were some fairly major levels of snark thrown in for good measure!
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Given my Curatorial opening bants involves paraphrasing gaming's 1800s journey from moral and educational puritanism to 'fun', I'd not anticipated one of the industry's foreparents to be so, well, blunt!
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It made me laugh out loud.
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Sun Nov 20, 2022 8:46 am
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Electricity in the Bath

Anthony Boydell
United Kingdom
Newent. Glos
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This week, Mrs B and I were due to pop out for an evening in the company of comedian Ed Gamble and his Electric tour*; we're both big fans of Ed, so when spaces came up in the Stalls of a theatre somewhere reasonably close to home, we snapped them up! The venue is in Bath (The Forum) - a city that we both adore - so what better way to mark the occasion than by wrapping a whole mini-break around it?!
From gallery of tonyboydell

The splendid Royal Crescent


Soggy Wednesday
We taking-our-time tootled into the rolling Somerset countryside and - when checked into the centre hotel - nipped over to an independent cinema next to the famous 'Thermae' (which we would be visiting the following morning) to watch The Banshees of Inisherin.
From gallery of tonyboydell

A quite extraordinary experience.

Goodness, what a fantastic, strange and moving little film: part drama, part comedy and part fantasy horror, we - and the handful of others in the audience - were absolutely stunned; I'll not say anything more apart from "Go and see it!".

Dry, but breezy, Thursday:
From gallery of tonyboydell

Bath's Baths

After two-and-a-half hours of saunas, hot springs and ambient music, we found a fabulous little Greek restaurant (Jars Meze) in one of the many side streets and gorged ourselves on spicy, savoury deliciousness before mooching the shops in search of Christmas gifts and other treats:
From gallery of tonyboydell

(clockwise, from top-left) Some Krishna prog, a souvenir of the gig, some 1960s 'sauce' and an unashamed nostalgia trip

As the sun set, the festive lights flickered on - Bath is in the middle of setting up its Christmas - and we made our way to the spartan Hall for the Main Event:
From gallery of tonyboydell

You had to be there: it was hilarious!


Sun-bright Friday:
All too soon, it was time to close off our small-but-perfectly-formed holibobs with one more turn around the town:
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Architecture! A Magnificent Organ! Tombs!

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Cotswold Stone festooned with creepers!

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Last minute purchases; rather surprised to find this 2013 edition of Chinatown still available (in Thirsty Meeples**) - I thought it was waaaaaay out of print?!


In summary: a packed, and wholly-relaxed, 48 hours with my favourite person in the whole World.

*and his excellent support Chloe Petts
**on Gay Street, right next door to the brilliant Jane Austen museum, should you be in the area!
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Sat Nov 19, 2022 6:20 am
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The Spirit of Ecstasy

Anthony Boydell
United Kingdom
Newent. Glos
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Some old cult or other has an article published in this month's (digital) Tabletop Spirit magazine:

Apparently, it's going to become a regular column?!
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Fri Nov 18, 2022 6:15 am
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Chums '22 - Every Game Is Like Sunday

Anthony Boydell
United Kingdom
Newent. Glos
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The rowdy feasting of Saturday night left the Boydell household - and various guests - fast asleep as I rose for the first coffee of the day. I turned the television on to the live Cricket T20 World Cup Final (Eng vs Pak, for when Ben came down) then ambled to the King's Arms to check how things were going with our generous landlord*
From gallery of tonyboydell

He was delighted with the Chums' consumption of ale and snacks and was DOUBLY impressed by everyone's good humour and consideration! We're a proper credit to the hobby, folks! Pleased-as-punch, I wandered into the silent skittle alley and waited for the others to emerge.

Lindsay, Phil and MrShep were first in so I grabbed them for a warm-up Mondrian: The Dice Game:
From gallery of tonyboydell

Chuck dice (in a variety of ways), score and collect value tiles and colours (for majority scoring) in this perfect, dextrous filler (from those talented buggers that brought you The Red Cathedral, no less!).

We were finished just in time for watching the end of the T20 Final AND playing the now-traditional, Big Chums Agricola: MrShep, Matt, Richard, Boffo Bateson and myself locking horns on this now-legendary, agrarian battlefield.
From gallery of tonyboydell

Drafting the cards, this was a no-nonsense tussle with Boffo and MrShep seemingly staking claim for top honours early-doors with some lovely opening Occs and Minors. Matt nudged his way into the action with the first Family Growth of the game, then I began to settle into my Clay/Plowing combo supported by tons of 'future stuff'. Richard, in typical manner, was rather preoccupied with pure card interaction and came a cropper (excuse the pun) in the mid-game when a mis-play sent him spiralling to the back with no real hope of recovery!
From gallery of tonyboydell

Come the end of Round 11, I realised that my own Farm was going to fill up by itself! I was sorted for food, animals were breeding well, the crops were happy in their soil and the family was growing steadily; oh, that feeling of everything being available to you at exactly the time you need it! Both Ben and I were in the 40s (a rare win for me), John and Matt in the mid-30s and Richard scrubbing about in the bare earth of his 23 point smallholding.

A play-test session, next, with Aaron and Tom and David; a full four player debut for the new, streamlined (rules AND playing time) Jerusalem
From gallery of tonyboydell

From gallery of tonyboydell

The Hermitage, out on the pub's decking, was quickly overwhelmed by the Womens' Institute...

As bonkers as always, I was very pleased with the way it all played out from a core mechanisms point of view and was especially happy when Aaron provided perhaps the greatest observation that I have ever heard in a playtest session: "Show me the reasons why this game has to be played free-form as opposed to being on a pre-printed board!". The USP, the allure, the pure JOY of Jerusalem is the total lack of boundaries in the building BUT, of course, if you're going to let players build anything anywhere there needs to be a bloody good reason to do so...else you might as well have a fold-out map! He also suggested the trimming of personal municipal building cards in hand (to further focus attention on what will be available to build in the game). Tom's comments about the central Planning Department board led to the idea for personal PDBs which are also your Mansion and also your reference...this makes working out who has taken what from where FAR simpler! Man, there is a reason you playtest games and there is a bigger reason you need to get Aaron and Tom and David involved: absolutely brilliant!

Somewhere amongst all of this, and several turns around the Bring-and-Buy table, the whole room stopped for the Armistice silence and roast Sunday Lunches and then I found myself - joined by Arthur and David and Lindsey and MrShep - for the last game of Chums '22:
From gallery of tonyboydell

Rats!

First Rat is a race game with resources in exactly the way that Res Arcana is: oh, but the opportunities for setting up God turns and combos is wholly-distracting when all you need to ensure is that you dump out your scoring cubes as quickly as possible. First Rat is a dream of a game - full of clever twists, player interaction and the funniest, best-integrated and best-implemented theme since Dungeon Lords! If you've not come across this already, I implore you to seek it out immediately: rats building rockets (to send to the Moon) made out of tin cans, lemon juice, baking powder and calculators, energy drinks, apple cores, comics and backpacks! Lindsey won, just ahead MrShep, with Arthur close behind. A fine way to end three days of moving cubes about...

As if by magic, folk began drifting away - Ben and Jana to the railway station, our Blog pals to the North) - hugs and gratitude accompanying them out of sleepy Newent. And, then, there were suddenly just four playing Riverboat.

The landlord, himself weary after a bustling weekend of Pub Service, was more than happy to take my immediate reservation for next year: The Gathering of Chums 6, 10th-12th November 2023!


*he lets me have the function room for free
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Thu Nov 17, 2022 6:15 am
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Chums '22 - Saturday Night's Alright (For Gaming)

Anthony Boydell
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Saturday at Chums is an initially-split affair: me hanging about the Museum in case any invitees want to come and look at the precious things (hello, David!) and everyone else making in-roads on the delicious beers at The King's Arms (just up the road)!

Ben Maddox (5G4D, of course), Jana, Giles and Nick kept me company by playing The Princes of Florence - something all-bar-Nick were entirely new to:
From gallery of tonyboydell

I am an exceptional teacher of PoF - not difficult as the rules overhead is small, it's the delicious timing and auctions that tie everyone up in knots - and we were away in no time. An early 7PP Prestige card acquired - and criteria met - gave me the confidence to steadily pace the VP track in the knowledge of a big, unknown-to-the-others jump at the end.
From gallery of tonyboydell

For the first time in ages, I won! It was a close race behind, though; and everyone pronounced it utterly-splendid and bloody-marvellous and wholly-wonderful etc etc.

We joined the hurly-burly of the King's Arms' function room and I took my place at the hotness table for War of the Ring: The Card Game:
From gallery of tonyboydell

It all got a bit lairy betwixt the Free Peoples and the Shadow, TBH...

WofR:TCG is exactly what it says on the box - or should that be 'the socks', which is how everything was packaged to keep it safe in Ben's luggage coming over from Germany! Craig and I played The Monsters and Mordor respectively, while Ben and Jana took up the Hobbit, Rohan and Elven mantle. You're basically playing out cards to 'win' VP cards - a battle card and a Place are available each round - and if you get far enough ahead DURING the game OR have the most VPs at the end, your 'side' wins.

Cards can be kept back in reserve (in play but not allocated yet) OR thrown straight into the fray; frustratingly, a long series of effect resolution queries resulted in the following, repeated, response:
The Hobbits consult the rulebook
The Hobbits tell the Shadow that they can't do that/it doesn't work that way/just "No!"
The Shadow (Mordor player) whines like a baby for a bit
The Free Peoples win the cards.
(Repeat, ad infin-bloody-itum)

It looked pretty dire for the bad guys, to be fair, as I - Sauron - found my Orc-ish forces unable to be involved in battles because we didn't have the right icons. Gandalf popped up and dicked around a bit, the Elven rings were destroyed to our simultaneous dismay and pleasure and by the time the 9th level path was won, we were staring at a one-point defeat. Craig, the Monsters, suddenly fingered his previously-unused ring and realised we'd forgotten to include it in the tally: we were actually TIED!

Of course, whenever there was a query, the rules-lawyering Hobbitses scurried straight for the bloody rulebook with that quiet air of confidence that had attended them for the previous two hours...only to find that the Shadow wins the tie-break!
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Our celebrations were entirely restrained and dignified*

Before my next game - and another glass of the delicious winter toffee milk stout - I stopped by to see how Arthur was enjoying his brief stay in the games room:
From gallery of tonyboydell

ArtArk Nova - he enjoyed displaying his Badger very much.


I was called into action for a game with some folks I'd not yet gamed with - Phil and Michelle - and was happy to teach Michelle's copy of Nusfjord:
From gallery of tonyboydell

It was a low-scoring game and I found myself singularly-unimpressed with the buildings on offer...so I went big boats. Phil pipped me by the one, magic point but Michelle and David were just behind. Again, following my principle of being as helpful as possible (pointing out errors, opportunities etc), everyone was entirely pleased with the proceedings: the more people that continue to play this superlative game, the better!

A-and then, with most wicked speed, it was 7PM and time to crocodile the room full of people out of the Pub, up the road and into Appleton House for the traditional Saturday night curry:
From gallery of tonyboydell

Food!

Mrs B excelled herself by cooking spicy lamb, butternut squash and chicken curries, lentil and aubergine side-dishes and hand-crafting more chick-pea flatbreads than I have ever seen in one place before; forty-or-so chums chatting and choffing and warming the place up with their good humour and grace!

Plenty of time left of the clock, so the crowd dwindled back out into the evening and returned to the Pub:

Matt, Steve, David and I had a go at this bonkers rummy affair with special abilities and unique character scoring rules. The 'rank' (character) you have the most of is who you are (how you score) at the end of the game: some characters want you to have few of them, some want more, some score in convex and concave manner and there's a couple of real weirdos thrown in too. It's actually very straightforward BUT the tiny player aid and twisted scoring criteria makes your head spin; with a bit of reformatting, that can be rectified and this will be a lovely opener/closer for a Wednesday evening. Just don't get too hung up in the bizarre 'back-story'!

It wouldn't be Chums without Wildlife Safari, of course; and, still wary of by six month ban following PLUM PORTERGATE last year, we brought young Will** into the fold:
From gallery of tonyboydell

The first couple of rounds went pretty smoothly - Will showing very good potential with a sweep of varied Fauna drafts - but it all went a bit South when Steve decided to offer Will advice by showing him the cards in his hand and David being allowed to change his choice of 'Last Animal Drafted' twice in the penultimate round! That David would then go on to win in the final reckoning further compounded the woes of an increasingly-victimised Matt who called 'Big Foul!' after my taking of a table selfie...which accidentally showed a glimpse (albeit blurred) of a rhinoceros card in his Hand! It was all getting far too tense, to be honest; so we agreed to nullify the result, shake hands and all be friends again.

To diffuse matters, I proposed we closed the late evening out with some Modern Art (the Oink Games version); those new to it fell at the hurdle of wanting to buy everything! This led to a round 4 return of $240,000 for Steve off the back of a $200,000 spend! This old hoss, here***, bided his time with timely buys and cheeky sales to come out a good 100K ahead of the nearest competition! And, so, to bed...

[To Be Continued]


*Narrator: they were loud, sweary and obnoxious.
**some of you will remember Will from Museum Saturday reports
***me!
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Wed Nov 16, 2022 6:20 am
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