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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Chariots ON Fire?!

Anthony Boydell
United Kingdom
Newent. Glos
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Saturday was Playtesting Day at the Museum: an open invitation for folks to come along and try out their own, or others', designs. I'm trying to stack the calendar with events like this to bring folks into the Town: heavens know I understand the anxiety of 'going out' rather better than before the Covid times!

Joining me for the duration were Paul and Tom, Newent Knights and - in Tom's case - a rather prolific inventor: he brought a trio of delicacies - all different from the last session we held in early Spring! After stocking up with drinks and breakfast nibbles, we kicked off the proceedings with Tom's Christmas-themed card drafting/set collection affair:

Players draft gifts to satisfy your letters to Santa for VPs. The core mechanisms are smooth enough but everything needed a bit more "oooomph!"; there was also a painful 'Coal for -3VPs' penalty for unrequited lists that needed addressing. We tried a variety of tweaks to pep-up the process: extra cards, multiples of the most common card ('sweets') usable as wild gifts ("swapsies"), more benevolent coal and a higher throughput of Lists. Plenty of notes for young Thomas to chew upon!

Next was something entirely opposite in both theme and complexity: Rome Sweet Rome - my hand-management, ladder-climbing, multi-use cards monstrosity: "Guilds of London with Tech Trees". Much more to their gaming tastes, R.S.R. was a hit with the Henly lads - Tom thumping us with a dazzling array of synergistic buildings - and I took away just a couple of minor amendments; this one feels ready to be put properly in front of a Publisher now.

For the first 'pictured' game - I'd left my iPhone on the counter as we immersed ourselves in play - Tom offered the co-operative F.O.R.E.S.T:
From gallery of tonyboydell

Inspired by Forbidden Island, it also shares a goodly amount of DNA with Flash Point: Fire Rescue. Another lighter game; family friendly, certainly, apart from the thematically-troubling "Arsonist" event cards, which we nix-ed upon drawing as just being wrong . We 'won', albeit with barely an "adequate" score, and there seemed to be nothing left to do on it: smooth, fun and complete.

Pausing for sandwiches, Tom tried to survive just one night of the Zombie Apocalypse in Triskaidekaphobia:
From gallery of tonyboydell

He came a cropper with the appropriately-named "A Dangerous Gamble" card, barely making it a third of the way through; this one tickles along very nicely as the third in my Solo Trilogy - I was even inspired, during the chatter, as to the thematic arc for them all...and it's proper Planet of the Apes-ish:
Quote:
"...you are attempting to repair your spaceship (Lux Aeterna), you realise that you are also being pulled into a Black Hole; unfortunately, you fail to escape and are sucked into a Hellish dimension where you participate in the release of Demonic forces (Aleph Null) and must survive the consequent armageddon (Triskadekaphobia). You manage to escape the zombie horror in a spaceship, but it is seriously damaged during transit; while..." (loop back ad infinitum)
To close, another run-through of Jerusalem but - this time - time-limited as I was exploring the new scoring tweaks. Previous outings have demanded a better flow of footprints (VPs) and I'd adjusted a large proportion of the Town's buildings effects to include more, and varied, ways of getting them:
From gallery of tonyboydell

Playing long-ish (90 mins with the three of us), both Paul and Tom (and, indeed, I) very much enjoyed the surreal and sarcastic nature of the tableaus that were constructed, including:
a B-road-surrounded sector of goat-worshipping, brothel-keeping monks (the brothel became a Womens' Institute):
From gallery of tonyboydell

Jerusalem's Porn Hub

And,
a dangerously-high children's slide that grew a tourist village of food, drink and medical(!) facilities around it!

Happier with the buildings, I am now resolved to remove one of the actions that tends to slow down most buildings getting into play: 'laying a foundation', as well as beefing up the vanilla 'Draw' action.
DRAW - draw two cards, one each from two different decks.
BUILD - put a building into play
UPGRADE - replace a building in play with a building of the same type OR, if you're allowed, replace a building in play with a MUNICIPAL building (the 'blue', special buildings that promote over each other to the 'big shapes' like The Reservoir, Golf Course OR Cathedral!).

A good reworking of the rulebook to include some nice pictures will also be a huge boon - this one keeps moving, pleasingly, forward; when we finally reach those dark, satanic mills this is going to be a bloody corker!
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Tue Jun 28, 2022 6:05 am
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Hey, Joe; where you goin' with that flint axe in your hand?

Anthony Boydell
United Kingdom
Newent. Glos
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Feeling the nerves numbing in my backside, it was imperative that I get out for a bit and get the blood flowing into my legs: the middle-of-the-night terrors get you sometimes and, recently, being tied to a wing back armchair for 8 hours a day has brought flashed 2AM images of Deep Vein Thrombosis while arguing the toss over ServiceBus availability %-ages! So, with a firm - but gentle - slam of the laptop to 'Closed', off we trekked into the heat-haze of a Wednesday PM:
From gallery of tonyboydell

From gallery of tonyboydell

Mown grass drying to scented hay

From gallery of tonyboydell

From gallery of tonyboydell
r
The 'Works' site for the Newent station / canal restoration has upped-sticks and disappeared, leaving behind an old railway bridge; all the metal fencing - and the Portakabin - disappeared.
From gallery of tonyboydell

Freely-accessible once more: time to dig out a trowel and go sifting for souvenirs?!


A short burst of last-minute messaging alerted me to a couple of new attendees at the Museum this week: Sandra and, eldest lad, Joe. With mutual gamer pals, they're not unfamiliar with the modern oeuvre; Joe is also a keen roleplayer and keen to find a D&D group locally too - fortunately, I already have a couple of peeps on a form of 'waiting list' so a spin-off meetup could be coming soon! For this evening, though, the two tables were fully occupied: Paul, Tom, Dave and Gary spending the whole time putting Viticulture World: Cooperative Expansion through its paces (and having a rollercoaster time of it, from the feedback) while Sandra, Joe, Richard and I whistled through a triple helping of friendly goodness:
From gallery of tonyboydell

Cubist is a straightforward, tactile treat and the perfect way to open a welcome session: roll dice and use the pips to build up 3D shapes to match - and claim - the point-scoring blueprints. No fuss and no frills, Richard looked to have exploited the potentiality of our (figurative) marble blocks the best but I managed a sneaky, last-minute spamming of the central Museum to snatch the win. Everyone announced themselves delighted.

Continuing the 'stacking' them, a conversation around "What games have YOU designed, Tony" led smoothly into my pulling Totemo from my vanity shelf:
From gallery of tonyboydell

Holy Colours and Numbers, Batman!

This time, Richard was able to assert his authority by averting a three-way tie at the top - sneaking the extra point ahead, he almost punched the air!

To close, now that we'd warmed everyone up properly and safely, I scanned the storage shelf and immediately pulled out Stone Age:
From gallery of tonyboydell

An entirely-suitable and utterly-wonderful entry to the worker placement genre, Stoners was an instant hit with the table: Sandra went heavy tools, Joe hoarding materials in readiness for a huge spurt of hut-building and Richard breeding out his tribe to the max. It was a close-run thing at the finale with me jogging passed Joe and Sandra - despite Sandra's evil* filling of the gold-panning spaces in the penultimate round thus preventing a game-ending build from me and giving them an extra turn each to hoover up more points!

Aa-and as the Sun was finally beginning to set on the dot of 10PM, everyone was finished - including the Endurance Event that was Viticulture World - and we scooted, happily, away into the night.

*Huzzah! Welcome to the Club!
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Thu Jun 23, 2022 10:41 am
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Like A Bat Out Of Feld

Anthony Boydell
United Kingdom
Newent. Glos
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Graciously, MrShep sent me a small parcel of 3D-printed bits for my mocked-up copy of Atiwa and they arrived, fortuitously, in time for the Tuesday trip into Gloucester. Reciprocating for my gift of the source art files, we now both have almost-real copies of the 'new Rosenberg' and I cannot stress enough as to how cool I find having early access. Would you be surprised if I told you that Lookout Games have also sent me a sort-of expansion for it too? More on that, perhaps, in a few weeks...

Picking up pal Ian on the way - the first time his shift-working schedule has gifted him a Tuesday evening since early May - the Tuffley club was buzzing like a honeysuckle hedge on a June Sunday. Our table, of four, settled down for some environment-nurturing goodness:
From gallery of tonyboydell

Having the animeeples really added to the atmosphere and, after a quick teach, Jeric and Tom were up-to-speed with us experienced lags (Nick lost out on the tie-break rule last week):
From gallery of tonyboydell

Those Bat-eeples are 'the Knees'!

There was a lot of shoving on both the landscape and terrain card actions in particular, as everyone was wise to the need to spread out and grow ones' tableau: good space = good supply flow. Nick pipped me with a little more gold and a few more fruit bats, Tom came in last but with a very respectable score (he kept pushing his timing luck and missed a couple of card builds due to insufficient gold on the second, slightly-more-expensive spots). Jeric, on the other hand, seemed to have settled in to a fine rhythm until the last round when he slaughtered ALL of his fruit bats for feeding! I'm pretty sure Atiwa - with it's integrated mechanisms and laudable theme of environmental awareness, harmony with nature and tree-shitting Chiropterae, needs a Final Scoring rule of automatic disqualification for such a heinous manoeuvre!

I, barely, had time to quell my righteous indignation at Jeric's Extinction Level Event (and to pop Atiwa back in my bag) than Nick had slapped down and unpacked his copy of The Castles of Burgundy:
From gallery of tonyboydell

I haven't played this in an absolute Age - mainly utilising boiteajeux.net to spin simultaneous games (usually against Boffo and Smudge Bateson) - and seeing it out in all its fiddling Glory had me a little excited.
From gallery of tonyboydell

The proper version - I'll not entertain any ideas about that planet-destroying, overproduced and unnecessary Deluxe edition, thanguverrahmush

Despite the usual vagaries of dice-rolling, I fixed into a smooth groove of buildings chaining buildings, boats and goods selling - supplemented by a couple of juicy end-game scoring tiles - to push into the 220s and a convincing victory ahead of Tom, who thought he'd just edged me out. It was a VERY late finish (gone 11PM), middle son was waiting at a nearby garage for a lift home, so I had to grab my stuff and scoot away leaving the others in a busy cloud of clacking table folds and the clang of stacked chairs.
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Wed Jun 22, 2022 8:59 am
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If I die on the Russian Front...

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: Pun microbadges are the wurst!
For only his second week attending a 'modern' boardgaming club, Richard was inducted into the splendid, dobber-slapping, mech-building, star-achieving ways of the redoubtable Scythe and, after a couple of recent 'rum' siðe-ular experiences at the biggest player counts, the magic five seemed the perfect baseline in which to induct him! Also joining us, after his post-nuptial hiatus, was young Thomas with Newent Knight stalwarts (his Dad) Paul and Dave:
From gallery of tonyboydell

It's all smiles until someone's Mech gets trashed!

It was Dave who got off to a flyer with his Republic of Polania (White) - racing across to the Factory thanks to his first Encounter card then thrashing as many Encounter tokens as he could before retreating into the four hexes closest to Home; this was supposed to have been a pause but ended up being a siege - assailed, as he was, by Richard's Saxony (Black) on one flank and my own, creeping Nordics (Blue) on the other. Later, Paul's Rusviet Union (Red) would tunnel-creep across the board to close both Richard's and Dave's exit opportunities: a cold, but lucrative, move.
From gallery of tonyboydell

Though my own forces were thinly-spread, they were sentinel-ed by a quartet of beefy mechs and my Power hovering, discouragingly, at the top-end of the Track; indeed, it was a couple of easy-win attacks (with star placements) that saved my (Danish) bacon in my last turn to secure third - rather than last - place! Both Paul and Tom had finished 'enlist'-ing by the mid-game and had reaped huge rewards off the rest of us as a result; Tom, though, was only just ahead of me (and my 14 hexes) in the final tally while Paul was a clear winner with a thumping 90!

Despite getting boxed in, partly due to others' aggression and partly due to forgetting he could tunnel his way to some combat shenanigans (especially in my sparsely-populated fields), Richard declared that he had very much enjoyed the whole escapade: huzzah!

With 45 minutes or so remaining, we changed the pace entirely with a first for everyone (apart from Dave and myself) experience of Modern Art:
From gallery of tonyboydell

The 'posh' version.

Bidding was "enthusiastic" - probably too much so, to be honest - as all profits from one round of sales seemed to disappear into over-valued purchases of new paintings in the next. Modern Art is, of course, one of those games that you have to experience once before its true nature - of cheeky pricing, sneaky offering and timing - crystalizes. I hardly bought anything myself but managed to accrue 60K more than nearest rival, Richard, by winding up the FOMO of my fellows! A magnificent piece of work and I certainly look forward to introducing both Ra and Medici - the remainder of Knizia's unholy auction trilogy - to the peeps.
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Thu Jun 16, 2022 8:46 am
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Uwe's Oeuvre

Anthony Boydell
United Kingdom
Newent. Glos
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Bushmeat is, in Atiwa, one of the resources you can populate your land cards with; they're there to provide a little tree income, even fewer VPs and - by consumption - a LOT of food for your burgeoning family communities, second only to the milk-yielding and stew-tastic Goats. However, to avoid any controversy they have been retitled as Wild Animals because, ahem, 'bushmeat' is often - in reality - Bats and Monkeys. Eating exotic foods might be an exciting subject for a YouTube channel* but it's bad for one's vision of an Eco-friendly future**.

Anyhoo, having assembled my rough-around-the-edges copy of Mr Rosenberg's latest WP delight, I canvassed the Tuffley gamers for three willing participants in a first "outside of Lookout Games" playthrough:
From gallery of tonyboydell

Nick, Tom and Andy eagerly snapped up the places!

Atiwa is a cinch to teach and flows remarkably smoothly from worker placement phase to maintenance, from round to round, and we were finished as a quartet - including the rules - in 85 minutes. After my UKGE experience, I reinforced ones need to get VP-rich educated families and fruitbats into play by maintaining a steady flow of resources between your personal supply board and your land cards: Wild Animals, Trees and Fruit are light on end-game points but essential for growing your tableau.

Nick was the first to construct a Town, Tom went heavy 'conservation icon'-ed landscapes, I committed to bats (and more bats) and Andy fought off an early wave of river-panning pollution to make up the gap. It came down to a 90 point tie between Nick and Tom with the latter pipping the former on the tie break by having one fewer pollution.

Everyone was entirely won over by this sweet Euro: lots to think about, plenty of contention for the placement spaces and an overwhelming atmosphere of positivity - Atiwa's theme is warm and friendly and ties in, beautifully, with the mechanisms. More so than before, I believe this is a fabulous addition to Uwe's oeuvre:
From gallery of tonyboydell


There was a little 'bag dance' before we settled on our next game; both our table and the Eternal Palace (Kickstarter Deluxe edition) table finishing at the same time; Jeric, eventually, joining is for a bona fide classic:
From gallery of tonyboydell

Shafted! Red (me) languishes in the distance after a frustrating tile drought - still a fantastic game, though!

With an hour of club remaining - and Scout being unpacked - I chose to go home early to watch the Cricket highlights on BBC2: it was the final day of the 2nd Test against New Zealand and the scene was set for an absolute corker - I was NOT disappointed!

*https://www.youtube.com/c/BestEverFoodReviewShow makes me very hungry (almost) all of the time!
**Thank the good Christ no-one mentioned Pangolins.
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Wed Jun 15, 2022 9:15 am
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Ob's Out

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: Pun microbadges are the wurst!
It's been a while since I posted a decklist for a favourite Magic: The Gathering deck that I have been enjoying and that's because I've not really found one to 'enjoy' that much until recently - of course, that doesn't mean I've lessened up on 'playing' - oh, good gods, no. For the longest time, I've been quite content to play mono- or two-colour decks because I get worried about ever getting the mana fixing required to run a 3+. In the current Standard environment, however, there is mana fixing galore and it's never been easier to run a trio of colours!

With the recent sets of Kamigawa: Neon and Streets of New Capenna, I have settled upon Jund - black and red and green - centred around a hideous, self-replicating Planeswalker: Ob Nixilis.
From gallery of tonyboydell

Forget the backstory - nobody gives a shit about that piffle - but, instead, focus on a card-discarding/life draining Mythic Rare that also copies itself - for a small 'casualty' cost - when it comes into play thus providing double the inconvenience. Add, also, a flock of unruly and devastating dragons, trivial but double-the-value wheenie creatures, a slew of removal and card-drawing for a hugely fun, mid-range, monster deck:
From gallery of tonyboydell

Quote:
Tony's (Kn)Ob v1.1
Creatures:
4 x Eyetwitch - Fetches good stuff from the sideboard; totally essential
4 x Shambling Ghast - Every Black deck runs this niggling critter
2 x Immersturm Predator - with a little care, this flyer gets bigger and bigger and is impossible to get rid of
3 x Ziatora's Envoy - casts things from the top of the deck for FREE, you say?!?!
3 x Goldspan Dragon - boom! It's a big hitter and shits out mana too!
4 x Ob Nixilis, the Adversary - planeswalker par excellence (see above)

Spells:
3 x Fable of the Mirror-Breaker - ubiquitous Enchantment that provides extra mana (treasures) and copies dragons!
4 x Deadly Dispute - makes the Ghast/Eyetwitch even more brilliant
3 x Riveteers Charm - utility Kill (sacrifice by-passes horrible 'Ward' nonsense) or Draw; used lots in both main modes (third mode ignored)
3 x Ray of Enfeeblement - reduces damage from big things to buy time OR kills horrid White deck threats outright
3 x Abrade - burns for 3 OR kills an Artifact outright

Land:
4 x Swamp
6 x Mountain
2 x Hive of the Eye Tyrant - hard to block creature land
3 x Cragcrown Pathway - mana-fixing dual land
2 x Ziatora's Proving Ground - mana-fixing triple(!) land
3 x Blightstep Pathway - mana-fixing dual land
4 x Darkbore Pathway - mana-fixing dual land

Sideboard (for 'Learn'-ing):
1 x Confront the Past - Planeswalker utility: not picked to date
2 x Environmental Sciences - fixes mana screw but rarely ever used TBH
1 x Mascot Exhibition - a squad of beasts to rub salt in the wound
2 x Introduction to Annihilation - MVP for the deck: gets rid of almost everything - especially when it's not a creature!
The flow involves getting the critters out early for some pecks of damage then sacrificing them to Ob (triggering their ‘when dead, do useful things’ effects) to start ripping at the opponent's hand; mana comes fixed courtesy of the dual lands and, very VERY soon one can get busy with a dragon or two. It really is a hoot: lots of flexibility and pretty successful provided the MTGA Shuffler isn't 'having a mare'.
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Tue Jun 14, 2022 6:05 am
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Beer & Bats

Anthony Boydell
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Newent. Glos
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I arrived at the Museum with an hour or so to spare to allow time for assembling a PnP copy of Atiwa - hot from the WeTransfer channel of the esteemed Mr Klemens Franz himself. The cutting-and-sticking was a little laborious - there are 80-ish Power Grid-sized terrain, settlement and reference cards that needed sleeving - but it would be the physical resources that took the longest to scrabble together from the Shed's recesses: there's 300+ trees, bush meat, goats, fruit, family members, gold and fruitbats in the inventory!
From gallery of tonyboydell

Sweeping up the last of the off-cuts, the main table space was no ready and waiting for Paul, Dave, myself and Richard; Richard, a new face to the club, joined us with him plenty of 1980s experience in hex/counter, SPI and roleplaying games. For him, this evening would be a baptism of fire in the 'New Way of Games' and there's no better introduction than with a renowned and highly-regarded worker placement affair:
From gallery of tonyboydell

The Wye Valley Tourer scenario has just about everything one could want in a Snowdonia scenario: points, plentily-available, from all of the thematic strands: excavation, track-laying, station building PLUS there's a beer postcard to fill as well. The WVT is fast becoming my personal favourite: the familiar locations along the route adding a little nostalgic kick too!
From gallery of tonyboydell

Richard kept up, mostly, with remembering the rules and the sequence of things though his biggest issue was his reluctance to take any Contract Cards: as any fule kno, you cannot win the game without them - a point I made repeatedly through the 'teach'. We 'old lags' jostled around the 100s for the laurels but Richard came through with a highly-respectable late 80s for his first go.

Next, then, to something cute-but-actually-abstract in the polyominoes race that is New York Zoo:
From gallery of tonyboydell

Aside from the ridiculous similarity of all the shades of green that befuddled everyone during the setup, the rest of the play was smooth and engaging. I'm not entirely sure how much of a game is actually in there as one is constantly suffering at the whim of the other players jumping passed everything you might need BUT the bits are cute and it's straightforward enough - I think I'd prefer to spend an extra 30 mins and play a bigger Uwe instead; you know me...any excuse for a 'Gric or a Nussy.

We closed - light still bathing The Shambles courtyard despite a palpable nip in the air - with Pi mal pflaumen: that delicious trick-winning, set-collecting, fruit-themed treat from five years back. Richard kept pace with a roaring Dave and Paul but my own last card/final set cash-in for 15 points rocketed me from 3rd place to a magnificent victory in a heartbeat - what a fab game to end on and, hopefully, the start of a new club membership for Richard!
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Sat Jun 11, 2022 6:15 am
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House Of Cards

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: Pun microbadges are the wurst!
It was a four table-r at the Tuffley Community Centre on Tuesday - a noisy and enthusiastic 15 partaking of old favourites (Venice), new Expo hotness (Au) and a rarity:
From gallery of tonyboydell

Marc has been Jonesin' to play Glory to Rome for most of the year: pleading with me to bring it along then not turning up himself OR berating me for leaving it at home. No matter because, finally, he and Jeric and I tucked ourselves in to the corner and set to it. The first game was, naturally, an exercise in orienting yourself within Chudyk's zones and settling into the flow of it all: I won with a stacked vault and a Catacombs completion.
From gallery of tonyboydell

Game Two had more of a show from the other two but, again, a sweep of buildings - topped by another Catacombs slam-down - carried me through. Game three and I decided I'd go for the Forum victory; however, Mark legionary-ed my Forum from Hand and I resorted to good, old-fashioned Vault-ing and - yes, you guessed it, another triple-crafted Catacombs to bring their misery to an end.

I think they liked the game, though; Mark announcing he was going to PnP a copy of the Black Box edition from an Internets GitHub somewhere.

For a chance of pace - and complexity - Jeric proposed we try SCOUT:
From gallery of tonyboydell

Empty your hand of cards by making a better set (singletons, runs and sets-of-the-same) than the current 'showrunner' (the player who had previously played out a winning set) and then - while you're the SHOWRUNNER - accumulating victory tokens as the others 'scout' cards from your trick if they can't beat it...until someone can, indeed, beat it.

The 'wrinkle' is that the cards are double-valued (all numbered between 1 and 10) and you choose which 'end' of the hand you want to play in any given round. You also - and this is most important - cannot adjust the order of the cards you're dealt: you must play cards out in 1s, 2s, 3s etc from the position they're in: 1-2-3 or 3-2-1 is a nice sequence, for example, but 1-3-2 or 2-3-1 is invalid. 'Scout'-ing may give a point to the showrunner BUT it allows you to draft a card into any position in your hand; thus, you can assemble pairs, trios and sequences as the round progresses.
From gallery of tonyboydell

The first hand was open - by way of 'learning by doing' - but we were soon off and running in this Spiel des Jahres-nominated beauty: I predict that this one will win it because it's clever, unusual-but-familiar and an absolute BLAST to play! Nick joined us for a five-player game and moaned/bickered all the way through my rules explanation: later, he complained that I'd not told him a couple of key rules even though
a) I had, and
b) I most certainly had.

If only he and Mark had stopped honking through the teach?! It turned into a neck-and-neck contest between Jeric and myself with just the one point separating us at the end. SCOUT's cards also have flavourful icons for circus acts (the nominal 'theme' to the game) and named performers:
From gallery of tonyboydell

I'm a Singer, apparently?!
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Thu Jun 9, 2022 6:30 am
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No Points For Second Place

Anthony Boydell
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Newent. Glos
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After the hustle and bustle of my 2/3rds convention: Sunday was a far more sedate, stay-in-bed kind of day with the household finally surfacing for a late lunch around 2PM. Later, in the damp late afternoon, we scooted over to the Cinderford Palace Theatre for the highly-anticipated Top Gun: Maverick. TG:M is much more fun than it ought to have been and that's in no small part to having reacquainted ourselves with the original on Friday night; indeed, the sequel contains many nostalgic references and is a splendid two hours of old-school action cinema. Familiar (if older) faces, impressive stunt sequences and a kineticism that washes you - uncomplaining - along with it all: ah, the Summer of 1986 when, as Sixth formers on the cusp of going to Uni/Poly, all we did was go to the pub and to the movies together. That Arthur was with Mrs B and me to enjoy the High Octane(TM) shenanigans only added to the enjoyment.

On Monday, it was a return to the plodding inevitability of Death by Teams Meeting broken only by a long lunch in the company of some special Museum visitors:
From gallery of tonyboydell

With a day left before his flight home, Smoox Chen was being given a tour of Gloucestershire by Cheltenham/Tuffley regular Jeric, who had helped on the Taiwan Boardgame Design Expo stand. For 90 minutes or so, I guided them around the packed cabinets and shelves and also partook of a TBD prototype:
From gallery of tonyboydell

Name Unknown!

This two-player abstract revolves around the tenet of connecting one edge of the board to it's opposite with an orthogonal trail of your pieces; the pieces, themselves, being dropped behind the movement of one of your two Spirit Guides (black base and white base). The board is grid-ed with a pattern of black and white tiles, upon which only the appropriately-coloured spirit guides may move/land. The direction and distance of movement are dictated by the tiny 3x3 grid to the side: you move your marker to a vacant space and then move one of your guides in relation to your opponent's marker on that grid: forward, backward, forward and to the side, backward and to the side and/or sideways.
From gallery of tonyboydell

It took me a while to get that mini-grid movement idea fixed - a problem Jeric had encountered while playing over the weekend - and, between us, we managed to offer a little fix to help clarify the concept. It was a lovely brain-squeezer in the best tradition of two player abstracts; for some reason, I managed to win - I put this down to Smoox being tired and distracted rather than me being particularly skillful, to be honest.
From gallery of tonyboydell

Having stuffed his shoulder bag with gift shop souvenirs, I bade them both farewell and plodded home to a less-exciting P.M.
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Wed Jun 8, 2022 6:20 am
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Seventh - Son

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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Welcome...to my Shed!
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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: Pun microbadges are the wurst!
I had expected a small session at the Museum this week and was merrily packing 'things for four' when Arthur announced that he wanted to come along too: five, then, and we were staring down the shoved-together tables at a maximum capacity Lancaster...
From gallery of tonyboydell

...when two chaps hovered at the doorway bearing large, shoulder cubes! Greg (below, left) and Joe (below, right), sometimers at the Tuffley club had made the journey over from Gloucester to join us! Quickly resetting the Lancs table for four, I shoved the newly-arriveds and myself into a corner of our own. Among their offerings was the Terra Mystica: Big Box and - do you know what? - I had a hankering to play it, for the first time in over 10 years!
From gallery of tonyboydell

It was evidently one of Joe's all-time favourites and, with his Black Priests, he powered his houses across the board for a filthy amount of 'Round Bonus' points. Greg, sporting the fine mermaids, was evidently (at least according to Joe) playing 'just like he always does' ie. building etc with scant regard to his Race's special powers. For myself, I plumped for the Carpet-riding Fakirs and spent most of the time reacquainting myself with the flow of everything; I did, quite uncharacteristically, end up doing rather well on the Cult* Tracks and also levitated my way to the 'Most Separate Colonies' bonus to keep in 2nd place. It was a proper treat playing Terra Mystica again: a really smart, interactive and testing piece!

As for the Lancaster-ers? Well, Arthur struggled a bit but had plenty of Wine Gums to keep him fuelled; he played sportingly and, when they were done, bade us all a cheery "Good Evening" and walked home while it was still warm(-ish) and light. That table - Dave and Paul and Gary - moved on to Diamonds:
From gallery of tonyboydell

...while I introduced our new quests to the horrors delights of Innovation:
From gallery of tonyboydell

Greg got off to a flying Agriculture-fuelled start and was ploughing cards into his score pile and claiming the first three achievements (5-10-15) in short order; Joe got fixated with short-cutting to the MONUMENT achievement which both took him out of the running, score-wise, and distracted him from trying to slow Greg down with me! Despite powering into the '10's, we just couldn't rein him in. Joe is familiar with Mottanai and was entirely-taken by 'Nnovs; he said he'd be sniffing out a copy ASAP! My own copy is, of course**, one of the 120 copies in the Asmadi original 'Beta Print': first we had the PnP files which we played and 'fed back on', then the Beta and - then - a copy of the 'First Edition proper'.

D, P & G were closing off their evening with New York Zoo:
From gallery of tonyboydell

Both this and, now, Ark Nova are on my acquisition list for the UK Games Expo in a couple of days; I shall be nipping up on the Friday too for a couple of pitches/demos and some collecting before returning on Saturday with Arthur and his pal.

Why not say 'Hello', if you see me mooching about? And don't forget to come to the Seminar on Saturday afternoon - 3.30PM - for some tales about the blogging life?!

*c-u-ELL-t, thankyouverymuch.
**You will recall that Glory to Rome, in the mid-noughties, had turned me into a huge Chudyk fanboy
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Thu Jun 2, 2022 8:47 am
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