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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 What was that beardy bloke going on about?

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Two-Face

Anthony Boydell
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Every few months we get another 'monumental' announcement about what Asmodee is doing / wants to do / has just done and the Forums flare, briefly, with pessimism and rage. It's been a year since the OLGS vs FLGS "policy launch" and it's certainly starting to bite; listen, here, to one man's story:



For me, the main point of frustration is Asmodee's unwillingness to talk out the gray areas; a one-side-or-the-other approach NEVER works in the real world. Simply replying to all pleas and pressure with "Sorry, but that's our Policy" is just a smart uniform away from "We're just obeying orders". Patently, the new rules are harming the FLGS's purported to be protected and, yet, all dialog is stifled.

Of course, there ARE exceptions - mentioned in the interview - that make it even more ridiculous ie. if you're big enough, Asmodee will compromise. Is this the real reason for the policy, then? To protect the online bottom line of the major players? Certainly such situations occur; for example, in the U.K., we have had the ghost of a particular piece of tax legislation hanging over the IT contractor market (IR35) since the late 90s when large IT providers (Cap Gemini, EDS etc) lobbied the (then) Labour Government to penalise independent businesses so they could clean up.

What, if anything, is left for the rural FLGS to do but give in and fold?
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Wed Mar 22, 2017 11:58 am
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FLGS 37 (Public Information Film)

Anthony Boydell
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(we are in your everyday, run-of-the-mill, plain-and-simple FLGS; the cashier is operating a forklift truck and elevating a single copy of Gloomhaven to the top of the ‘New Arrivals’ shelf; he is sniggering, profusely, as the pallet rises, in anticipation of the larks that shall surely ensue when a customer eventually tries to retrieve it for purchase. In the window display, unopened Star Wars Destiny booster packs are being fanned out in an elaborate and decorative manner by the store assistant who has also, that morning, cleaned and polished the front window’s glass so that the display is clearly visible; spot-lights and ‘flash’ signs further emphasise the availability of these sought-after products. Thin slivers of razor blade are being affixed to the rim of the display’s back so that any customer invited to “lean over and pull them straight out of the window” will inevitably receive horrific chest and/or stomach wounds. A pyramid of Anachronys shines from the far corner and is signalled by a line of floor tiles with bright “Follow me!” arrows pasted on; each so-decorated tile is several millimetres proud of the overall flooring level because anti-personnel mines have been secreted beneath. The assistant meets the cashier at the Sales Desk and they take, examine and prime a pump-action shotgun each; the barrels of both weapons sport the stencilled phrase “Free Rising Sun Kickstarter Stretch Goal Inside!”. The Stock Room door has, itself, been re-decorated with an enormous 3D PoS standee for Terraforming Mars and a banner announcing 'Self-Service Inside'; if you were to listen, briefly, at the portal you would hear the unmistakable growling of a large cat or cats. A guillotine, primed and horribly-sharp, provides the frame and frontage to a shelf of Santorinis. By the Till, a mass of slithering, writhing and spitting Cobra are contained within a 'Pledge Jar' inviting customers to "Post Your Pandemic Legacy: Season Two Pre-Orders HERE!")

Door Bell: Ning-nong-nang: clang!

(a customer enters)

Cashier: (rubbing his hands, he speaks under his breath, to the assistant He we flipping go!

Cashier: (brightly, cheerfully) Good morning, Sir! Can I help you? (he waves his arms as if receiving adulation from the room)

Customer: Yes, indeed; I wonder if you might have a copy of -

(both the cashier and the assistant lean in a little closer)

Cashier: (excitedly) Yes?

Customer: - a copy of -

Cashier: Yes?

Assistant: Yes?

Customer: (innocently, without a trace of irony) Monopoly?

(the scene freezes; a smartly-dressed Narrator type wanders in front of the image and speaks)

Narrator: Little did that Customer know how close he came to his doom; let this be a warning to you all: the cult of the new is The. Cult. Of. Death.

(fade to black)
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Tue Mar 21, 2017 6:20 am
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I CAN'T STAND IT!!!!!

Anthony Boydell
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Mon Mar 20, 2017 6:37 pm
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Stand up and speak out!

Anthony Boydell
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Today I am flitting between the front of the training room and the back as me and the proper Trainer double-team a Course (hopefully not coarse) rehearsal: l'll be covering the North Wales region in early April, you see. Rest assured that unless the rehearsal audience (our IT Support buddies) get proper lairy (20% chance), I shall not be required to hide in/ blog from the silent sanctuary of a remote ' cubicle'.

I _do_ enjoy delivering presentations for work and gaming purposes, giving interviews and gesticulating thru BGG videos etc and don't feel any Stage Fright; mind you, I was a bit more nervous than usual at the Expo last year because I'd lost my voice about 15 mins before The Dice Tower Designers thing and was worried about cussing on Mr Vees poddie (sitting next to/being on the panel with Reiner Knizia and Eric Lang was very cool too). Fundamentally, if you know your subject then it's all plain sailing:

"Fail to prepare and you should prepare to fail!"

From the mostly sublime to the ridiculous: in 2012, I woke up at 4am on the day of my Snowdonia BGG video record and lay in the dark playing through the entire demo - from the 'hello world' wave to the 'thanks very much' takedown. As it turned out, my son Benedict stole the show in the background anyway!

Table demonstrations are at the opposite end of the scale, of course: intimate as opposed to broadcast and they evolve in efficiency with (the luxury of) repeated performance.

(sound of someone calling in the distance)

Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got a laser pointer and I'm not afraid to use it!
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Mon Mar 20, 2017 11:25 am
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Can't be arsed.

Anthony Boydell
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See subject.

Actually, it's more that I could be arsed if I could think of something but I feel oddly empty, strangely vacant, unusually blank. Ah, well.
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Sun Mar 19, 2017 8:02 pm
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St Patrick's Day

Anthony Boydell
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Neither am I Irish nor do I have any Irish heritage and so, on a day when everyone chugs Guinness and wears green, I am aloof and unaffected (or so I thought). Traveling straight from Cardiff to High Wycombe on Thursday night (to break up the journey to Brighton for Peter's funeral), I stopped over at good pal Richard's; it's been a few months, so we caught up on news and opinions over a takeaway Chinese meal and then partook of a little gaming to accompany the citrus-y bottles of ale:



What I've heard of Baseball Highlights: 2045 has all been good and - encouragingly - I don't need a deep knowledge of the sport in order to play. Richard precis-ed the rules and we were quickly in to our 'Best of 7' tournament.

In summary: It's a sloooooow deckbuilder. You start with a vanilla team and will play a match using 6 (possibly 7) of your 15 card deck. Cards are players and have three main elements: their cost/money value for the end of the match 'Draft', a 'comes in to play' effect and a hit value(s). If you have a card already in the waiting area, you perform player movement (resolve the 'hit' section) around your bases and move the card to the 'done' zone THEN you play a card in to a waiting area and resolve any 'in to play' effects immediately; the 'hit' section is "threatened" and - if uncontested (on opponent's turn when they play a card to their waiting area) - will put players on your bases / push players already out 'along', depending on their speed. Players come 'home' and score you runs; when all six cards are played out, most runs = a game win. At the end of a game, you total up the money value of your six cards played and use it to buy one or more players from a central tableau - one in, one out to keep your deck at 15 cards.

Apart from being mildy-confused about how the different speed of players affect other players already on bases when they move, it's a clean and breezy affair and imparts a pleasant tension. The artwork is fun - the box (above) is wonderful, the cards are more cartoony...and some of the players are Fzzzt-like wacky robots! BH2045 is great fun and I may have to get a copy of my own, now.

The Friday morning drive around London (the infamous M25 motorway) was happily (and surprisingly) uncluttered and accompanied by bright, warm weather and Richard's excellent early-80s Punk/New Wave playlist. We had plenty of time, rolling down the hill in to Brighton, so we took a wander around the Crematorium's grounds and happened upon a Family Plot with rather an unusual twist:


Can you see it? Can you suggest a 'Why?'


Peter's friends and family, all sporting a flash of green (his favourite colour), milled about in the sunshine until the hearse pulled up and Peter trumped the lot of us: his coffin was the brightest of bright greens you have ever seen and, in the dazzling morning light, it glowed almost radioactively - we entered to the strains of Stairway to Heaven and the Vicar stepped up to place a small, velvet bag of dice on the head of the coffin. Always a man of intensely-excellent taste, Peter treated us to Lewis Carroll, Antony & The Johnsons, Zero 7, Debi Gliori and Pink Floyd in a no-standing-room packed Chapel; as Shine on you crazy diamond soared and sirened, everyone stepped up to his luminous cardboard box and tapped/stroked/patted their farewells.



It was windy on Brighton sea-front; Richard and I wandered, gusted and chilly despite the glorious golden orb, passed the cartoon fairground of the East Pier, the i360 'space elevator' and the rusted wreckage of the West Pier. A young lad and his girlfriend were gamely trying to get a kite up but it kept crashing in to the pebbled beach in the strong down-draft; the few of us that were watching from the indoor warmth of the Wake quietly-cheered when they eventually got it to stay sky-bound. That's proper metaphorical, that is.
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Sat Mar 18, 2017 11:22 am
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BTW #3 was...

Anthony Boydell
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The Doodlebug answers are:
Spoiler (click to reveal)

1. Ova Rose and Berg
2. A LAN moon
3. Ode
4. Igneous E Trevi Cheque
5. Mat Le Coq
6. Toe Knee Boy (Dull)


Well done to NONE of you for getting them all right!

devil
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Fri Mar 17, 2017 7:57 am
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The Last Post

Anthony Boydell
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I'm not around for any Friday Frolics, I'm afraid; I'm at the funeral of my friend Peter. So, here's something for him and for all of our lost pals:



And now for something completely different (that I know he would have enjoyed):

Spoiler (click to reveal)


Turn it up LOUD!


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Fri Mar 17, 2017 7:35 am
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Doodlebug

Anthony Boydell
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Newent. Glos
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Six scribbles done during a particularly tedious meeting, six game designers:


(remember to use spoiler tags to protect the indifferent)
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Thu Mar 16, 2017 6:25 am
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CMON Sense.

Anthony Boydell
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Man Who Designs Games And Has Occassionally Made Millions For Miniatures-Obsessed Company Joins Miniatures-Obsessed Company to Design More Games!



I think Eric is a very cool guy AND he's designed some monstrously-good (and goodly-monstrous) things AND I seriously envy the amount of hair he has on his head BUT why is everyone going all...

...about the news?

It's CMON sense, surely?
#amimissingsomething?
#goodonyerezza

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Wed Mar 15, 2017 6:30 am
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