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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The Returned

Anthony Boydell
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Newent. Glos
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The last time I was at the NEC was in 2019: the year we'd snaffled sixty advance copies of Foothills and it was going to be a big year for both Tony Boydell and Surprised Stare Games! Jump cut three years and it's 7.30AM on quiet Friday; I find myself seated alone on a Ledbury platform, waiting for a Midlands train, with a rolling suitcase packed with 'pitch' prototypes (Attention All Shipping & Polygonia), copies of Corgi Dash and an emergency bag of Wine Gums.

With hotel prices (£200+ per night), NEC parking fees (£17 per day) and fuel costs (£40 for a round trip over 130 miles) being somewhat outrageous everywhere and all at once, it seemed entirely sensible that my return to one of the big conventions should be via the far cheaper daily commute model: slower, perhaps, and at the whim of train crew shortages certainly, BUT a £15 fare and £3 all day car parking is just too obvious a decision.
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It also helped that Alan and Charlie (SSG, of course) had arranged to get me an exhibitor pass, so I waited at the entrance to Hall 2 as the gates opened at 0900HRS exactly and the UK Games Expo was officially happening. Ten minutes - and a short walk to the CORRECT rendezvous point - later, I was in. Lordy, oh Lordy but it was busy:
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10 mins after opening...

Some errands needed to be completed first (including package deliveries, confirming pitch times with Matthew Dunstan and so on) and there was plenty of bumping in to old pals along the way as a zig-zagged through Halls 1 and 2:
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(clockwise from top left: Hanno Girke (Mr Lookout Games), Tim Clare (Author & Gamer*), Smoox Chen (Taiwan Boardgame Design),
Bez (Stuff By Bez), Andrew Harman (YAY Games) and, of course, Michael Fox (II) (Wayfinder Games)

The first pass of the main spaces took about an hour after I'd spent a short while catching up with the Paulls at their big, centrally-located, shared Stand: copies of the Deluxe Master Set bowed the point-of-sale counter while a smart preview of the new Kingmaker glowed proudly in a cosy nook.
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Echoes of designer Tony popped up in other places too: Scandaroon apparently making its annual appearance in the Bring 'n Buy and a mock-up of the UK Mini Express expansion map on the Moaideas Game Design booth:
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While the initially-emptied suitcase filled up with goodies during the day, this return to 'normal gaming life' was more about the people than the cardboard; aside from those pictured above, it was glorious and marvellous to share chattering time with Brett J. Gilbert, Rob Harris, Ricardo from Devir, Amy at Chaos Cards (museum patrons!), the Alley Cat Games crew - Caezar, David Digby and Mike Nudd (who also signed my museum-donation copy of Waggle Dance from Bright Eye Games) and Iraklis from LudiCreations! The latter - Alley Cat and Ludicreations - were in receipt of the aforementioned design pitches and discussions about a new edition of Paperclip Railways respectively!
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And a good morning to you! Tuffley gamer, Jeric, helps out Smoox on the TBD stand.

It was all rather overwhelming and, come 4PM, I'd reached my nervous limit and scurried back to the station to come back home. Indeed, anxiety has played no small part in my personal return to a gaming scene that was entirely within my comfort zone three years ago; both Bastion and Leiriacon saw me take to one side with a powerful home-sickness. I expect the same will be true of Essen Spiel also - which may affect my travelling channel/"duration of stay" decisions. What a silly, old sausage I am.

Saturday was cold and damp on the provincial railway but brightened, no end, by a chat with a French Digital Artist as we waited for the 0700HRS; there was a conference - Electromagnetic Field (https://www.emfcamp.org/about/travel) - at nearby Eastnor Castle, where she was speaking and networking. I learned about vintage computer system art/graphic recovery projects and 3D printing with actual clay...and was happy to recommend XX by Rian Hughes in return.

Arriving just before the barriers dropped, I was able to perform a quick wander through the Bring 'n Buy: a totally over-the-top warehouse of too much stuff and no chance of reviewing it all. I did spot a couple of must-buys for the Museum, though:
Schoko & Co. (£5) - the first Euro Game I ever played. I played it on the same evening that Alan and Charlie Paull came over to discuss the official foundation of (and document signing for) Surprised Stare Games! We played S&Co by way of a celebration...and my life changed from that point!
DropMix - introduced to this daft nonsense at last year's Gathering of Chums by the amazing Mr Matt Green, this was an insta-grab at £20.

A couple of hours saw me returning to demo duties on the SSG stand by way of a thank you; it was also, I guess, a chance to formally (and physically) close off that chapter of my gaming life. I was joined by Nick O'Neill, John Shepherd and Neil (one of my oldest pals) in advance of our scheduled sit-down-and-play of a much-anticipated Atiwa:
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Hanno delighted in berating me for not remembering the rules but, to be honest, it all came back to me in the first 20 mins; we stuck a little on the 'Maintenance Phase' - where a rigorous sequence of river pollution, bat management, income and 'breeding' occurs - but everything sped up and ran smoothly by the mid-game.
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Worker placement gets you resources - which you take from your personal supply in most cases - and more space on which to place those resources (landscapes and settlements); the key is to get a good flow of those resources back-and-forth because you'll be spending the stuff you've grown and nurtured on your terrain in order to grow your family (the villager - pink - pieces in this prototype) and attract as many fruit bats as possible (those beyond your first 10 are a VP each).
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While you're focused on your own tableaus, you do need to snipe some of the plumber WP spaces before the others. It's another winner from Mr Rosenberg, you mark my words!
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(from left) Neil, Nick, John and me.

Caroline (The Dyslexic Gamer) joined us as an observer - and sometime 'Advisor to Tony' - during our Ghanaian exploits; we also teased out the story of how Lookout Games was started from Hanno, when he stopped by to see how much of a hash we were making of the new jewel in their crown!

After shitting fruit seeds over the Savannah, the Blogger Quartet (me, Caroline, Nick, John) and Neil grabbed a coffee and some rare tablespace to relax, chat and prepare for our 15.30 seminar: "Blogging on BGG":
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Tucked away in the business suites, thirty or so folks turned up to hear us talk about the Whys, Whens, How Longs and Oopsies of Blogging:
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As MC, it was absolutely bloody marvellous to hear other people speaking about the process, the benefits and the pitfalls of pushing the written word in a cosy, largely-unrecognised corner of the biggest board game resource on the Internet. The audience listened patiently to our musings, asked insightful questions and we filled a happy hour together; we even got a lovely round of applause at the end!
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If I have one complaint at all, it's that the Seminars - in general - seemed to have been given the most cursory of glances: the printed catalogue containing no detailed list (referring one to the Web, instead), no recording facilities** and very small signage. I'm not sure if I could suggest any better ways of tearing folks away from the lure of boxes-for-sale beyond:
a) holding the seminars in the evening, when the trading halls are closed and provide no distraction; and/or,
b) asking Shut Up & Sit Down to sit in on everyones' session!
Pausing, briefly, to meet and chat with Lisonix (Superfluous Somethings) and her cheerful family***, I was once again carried off to the trains by a cold, hard knot of flight response in my stomach.

It was 100% worth the time and effort to come back to the show: familiar, friendly and fun. Of course, as my first ever time experiencing it from "the other side of the demo table", the show was tinged with melancholy. However, long-awaited fist-bumps, handshakes and hugs with friends - old and new - washed all of that away in an instant.

The Obligatory Haul Picture:
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*check out Coward: Why We Get Anxious & What We Can Do About It at your local, independent bookshop
**Don't worry: John did get something on his iPhone!
***pop a pair of glasses on Mr Lisonix and he's the spitting image of Matt Leacock!
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Tue Jun 7, 2022 6:20 am
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MIND fullness

Anthony Boydell
United Kingdom
Newent. Glos
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The hard-working Herefordshire Gamers are often working to give back to their community and this weekend (as advertised a few weeks back) held an extended convention in the middle of Hereford. Greeted with a friendly 'Halloo!', a games library, an extensive Bring 'n Buy and a bustle of early-arrivers already 'mid-play', I wandered into the Richmond Place Social Club:
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B*llo*cks!

Immediately assailed by the World's bounciest, Viking sword-wielding lady-in-red (Bez Shahriari), I made physical contact with another gaming pal after 27 months! Bez had a small table liberally-sprinkled with new, fun card games and I made my first 'Museum' purchases of the day:
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Pausing, briefly, to wander off to find a decent coffee - 'Social Clubs' are a bit simplistic when dealing with non-alcoholic beverages - I caught up with another long-time no-see gaming pal: Ray. Then, about an hour into my visit, I finally sat down to play a game:
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Joined by Swav (left) and Sean (right), I was very pleased to give my copy of Brian Boru a first outing:
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If you like area control games that don't vomit too many icons into your face then you'll find much to enjoy in 'Brian': draft action cards, play them out in whist-like trick rounds with the 'winner' getting to do a 'Major' action while the others choose one 'Minor' action from a two. Simples. Pieces are placed, markers progressed/added to the Marriage/Church tracks, invading Vikings collected and then - at the end of the round - victory points and bonuses are alloted. The higher value cards come with a bit of cost inconvenience but contrive to 'win' a trick with a low value card and the benefits can be amazing - the inverse power of win reward to card rank is a particularly sweet design feature - and essential to driving the intrigue of the (main) Action phase. The art is lovely, the visual design is unfussy and the gameplay is chewy and delicious: though we took an hour - interrupted by several B&B price negotiations - this should easily pack a big punch in just 45 mins!
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Bez holds Court

The other reason for popping in - apart from human contact - was to pick up a few bits and pieces from Mr Phil Dennis - fellow antiquarian collector and, currently, the post-COVID Executor of the Gaming Estate of his dear friend Martin:
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Martin Nelmes (1961-2020)

Martin and Phil both worked as Teachers in a Welsh school and clicked over the gaming table; a talented Chorister and a writer, he self-published his book, The Blazing Stream*. I got quite emotional when Phil relayed me the story of a recent session at his club:
Quote:
His memory lives on every time that his gaming friends meet up. Only 2 weeks ago Martin was accelerating the end of a game of Snowdonia by digging rubble, laying lines and building stations every time a white cube was drawn. And whenever we need a scientist for Pandemic or Space Cadets : Away Missions, Martin always turns up just at the right time.
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Martin's contribution to the Museum.

Whether you're meeting gamers in person**, or remembering those whom you can never meet again, it's just another punchy reminder of just how important human connection is.

*Available here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Blazing-Stream-Martin-Nelmes/dp/179...
**UK Games Expo in a couple of weeks!!!
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Tue May 17, 2022 6:10 am
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Leiria on a Shoe-string

Anthony Boydell
United Kingdom
Newent. Glos
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My tummy is full of butterflies as I anticipate my return to Leiriacon this coming weekend: the best little (non-Welsh) gaming Event in the World:
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While I love actual flying, the associated admin for the flights is anxiety-inducing in the extreme:
to book a numbered seat or accept random allocation?
do I get to take my small suitcase into the cabin or the Hold?
have I got all the itinerary forms/vaccine proof?
what will await me at passport control?
how long will the hire car take to retrieve?
why is my homesickness already kicking in?!

Everything related to the flying bus seems to have a not-insignificant additional cost associated with it: 20 quid here, 40 euros there. How I long for the long, quiet roads up to Leiria; to stop off for a coffee in the warm afternoon! That - and the following three-and-a-half days of gaming/reunited friends/designer fun - shall be our ultimate reward.

How odd, then, that I am dreading it and longing for it in equal measure.
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Tue Mar 29, 2022 9:39 am
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So You Say You Want An Evolution?!

Anthony Boydell
United Kingdom
Newent. Glos
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The gaming continued with Biosphere which has a flavour of Dominant Species with a side-slap of Splendor: area control, adaptations and dice that track population die-offs.
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Progress is made by 'achieving' card goals that gift adaptation bonuses and that's the bit that feels like Splendor: whatever choice I had seemed to be diametrically-opposite to where I was currently. As Aaron bravely explained the (relatively straightforward) rules - and the first couple of rounds resolved themselves - I realised this was going to be painful; mind you, if I were to say something positive, it would be that the theme certainly comes through: the slow, grinding, almost imperceptible advance of millions of years of evolution.

Somewhat out of sorts, I made the mistake of checking the News and immediately started having a mild panic attack; there was a moment when I almost packed my bags and drove home - "flight" is a powerful emotion.

Colin pulled me out of my fug 90 mins later with Project L - a ridiculously-overproduced race to complete templates: a sort Cubist/Blueprints with Tetris pieces.
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Pretty good fun but - sheesh - excessively-blinged or what?!

While we were together, I suggested a quick Res Arcana before moving out into a room where long-huddled tables were beginning to break up. All three of us had settled into focused paths: Colin and I with out Places of Power, Aaron with his Pearls/Wind-up Man combo; the latter triggered the Victory check mid-round and stole the win from under our excited, expectant noses!
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Not having played anything with Philip for a while, I roped in two loose attendees who'd never played before - Michael (left) and Rich (right) for some Agricola:
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It's all smiles until someone takes the Sheep!

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I should point out that, despite scoring appearances, I was the model of helpfulness and error-correction and encouragement throughout!

The 'noobs' picked everything up quickly but poor Philip found himself frustrated at every turn; it looked, at the start, like he was well in control - a big, fenced area and a couple of planted fields by round 7 - but he failed to get a third worker until far too late and that was crippling.

He took revenge, however, when a little table rearrangement saw us kicking off with a five player Nusfjord:
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And, with the last of my beer stock lubricating the evening-into-night, we closed with a variety of shorter but by-no-means 'lighter' games: King Thief Minister (nt shown), A Fake Artist Goes to New York:
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and the excellent, new-to-me Calico:
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Sun Feb 27, 2022 9:44 am
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Croeso nol

Anthony Boydell
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It's been two years since I've attended a 'proper' games convention and the same since I travelled up to one of my favourite places in the Country: North Wales (and the Snowdonia National Park). Both scenarios provide me with succour so it is wonderful to be able to combine the two.
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From gallery of tonyboydell

Bastion - the small-but-perfectly-formed gathering in the fortified Town of Conwy - is very much like Portugal's Leiriacon: set in a gorgeous location and possessing an intimacy that makes it feel like a shared secret. No traders, no franchises, no packed aisles, no cavernous Halls - just small groups, a shared self-catering kitchen and friendship.

The long, achingly-familiar drive turned bright afternoon into be-drizzled evening: up the Marches, across to Chester via Oswestry and then along the coast - running West - to Conwy. I lucked into the last parking space immediately outside the Youth Hostel and was checked in and playing a game before you could say "Croeso nol" ("Welcome back!"):
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Taking Aaron and Philip through some Obsession

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Six player politically-themed, cash-grabbing shenanigans with 'Deep Pockets'

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Closing out with auctions and some sneaky negotiations in Der Fliegende Holländer


***


Then, to something more serious and Amabel Holland's Dual Gauge:
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Xander, Philip, Aaron and I play with trains!

A pseudo-18XX that plays in a third of the time, players buy shares, gain control of (and run) companies, build either Narrow or Standard Gauge links across the board (in this game: Portugal), run trains and earn cash; in the usual manner, paying out results in a better share price while retaining makes it drop. The mix of track types - and the range of trains operating across them - makes it a very interesting juggle. The trains, themselves, are of one gauge or the other when bought and - like 18XX - the higher 'levels' rust the lower ones. As it transpired, my acquisition of both the 1st and Last companies to operate in a Round meant I had total control over th'aforementioned "rusting"; copious dividending - and some dependable share purchases - swelled my personal fortunes of 319 - more than enough to be WELL clear of my nearest rival!

Next - because Philip had brought it with him - I simply HAD to curate a five player Nusfjord with old Snowdonia Dragons pals Tim and Sarah and new Bastion pals Sammie and Liz:
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Fish, Glorious Fish!

While my own score of 40 points wasn't much of surprise, my tie with Liz certainly was - as were the low 30s scores of everyone else: well played, Team! And a pat on the back to this #goodTeacher!


A light and eye-catching 'flip-and-write' cleansed the palette before I wandered into Conwy town for an hour-or-so to get some air and some exercise:
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A healthy, self-catered supper...
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...followed by a play-test of Attention All Shipping with Phil D and Rob M Harper...
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Despite appalling storms and Biblical tempests, Rob managed to deliver the final consignment of Celtic Sea crab all the way up to Iceland!

...a quick party filler...
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...and then to some Friday late-night Magic: The Gathering!
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I drafted a fast Red/White deck (1 x Midnight Hunt, 2 x Crimson Vow) that took me into the Top Table Final only to be crushed by a relentlessly-synergistic Blue/Black Zombie deck. Some fabulously-intense games in my first IRL draft for 24 months!
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Sat Feb 26, 2022 10:06 am
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In-FISA-ble

Anthony Boydell
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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!
Last night I received an email from the Head of FISA (Fédération internationale de safari animalier) - MrShepp Blatter - alerting me to the recent reporting of a new Coronavirus variant, B.1.1.529.
From gallery of tonyboydell

The World Championships were, of course, cancelled in 2020 and run under strict social distancing rules in 2021 so I was initially bemused at there being an official notice when the whole Competitive Play infrastructure had already closed down for the Winter.
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The 2021 Semi-Final 'A' in Bucharest.

As it turns out, MrShepp was outlining the Federation's P.R response to the new strain's nickname: the 'Botswana Variant'. MrShepp, and official spokesperson Sohn von Bate, want to avoid the situation that saw Corona Beer suffering a dip in sales at the start of the pandemic, and asks the Affiliated Members (us) to ensure the general public understand Botswana has been a renowned, abstract strategy game with an enormous global subscription well before it was a mutated strain of a respiratory tract-affecting RNA virus:
From gallery of tonyboydell

So I’ve put this in my front window.
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Sat Nov 27, 2021 6:35 am
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Pedigree Chums - 4

Anthony Boydell
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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!
A mild headache and tremendous thirst woke me in the early hours of Sunday morning - for the life of my I don't understand why?! - before returning to a fitful sleep filled with Nomination Whist nightmares. There was just enough time for a strong coffee before ambling down to The King's Arms and that long-awaited Chums session of medieval farming:
From gallery of tonyboydell

The best game ever designed played by the worst gamers ever.

My game progress reflected my slightly-tender, physical condition as I was left to prod my hoe in a distinctly-average Farmyard while Richard and Ben and Matt got on with proper agrarian business. It ended with a bollock-dropping 60 point win for Ben (with me on exactly half that and Richard/Matt in the mid-40s); we shall, probably rightly, never hear the end of this!

Hoping to make up for my card-induced outbursts of the previous (late) evening, Richard Breese joined me and Richard C for Terraforming Mars: Ares Expedition:
From gallery of tonyboydell

From gallery of tonyboydell

It was a long game - interrupted by Sunday Lunch - and, to be honest, offered nothing more than the experience you can already get from Terraforming Mars and it's obvious (and FAR superior) structural inspiration Race for the Galaxy. Indeed, I say 'inspiration' but Ares Expedition is a straight out clone - like Thunderstone to Dominion - but not in any way that I could see was useful or better (apart from the artwork, which is lovely and stylistically-consistent). It comes with almost as many bits as TM, plays in pretty much the same time (ours was not the only play during the weekend) and, well, that's about all I can say about it.

Post-lunch, the Chums began departing; many have made significant journeys to be here and it was sad to see everyone going when they'd seemingly just arrived. For most of us, this is the first time in nearly two years that we've seen each other: parting is such sweet sorrow.

When we started SRT (see above), there were three other tables running; by the time we'd wrestled the slightly-fuzzy rules and finished our ribbon-laying japes, we were the only ones left in the room! It behooved me to thank our generous Landlord host, Wayne, for the quality of his beer, the deliciousness of his food and - most importantly - his warm welcome to a group of board gamers; indeed, he was equally complimentary and has already reserved the room for next year's event:

The Gathering of Chums 5:
Friday 11th November, 2022 - Sunday 13th November, 2022.
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Wed Nov 17, 2021 10:20 am
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Pedigree Chums - 3

Anthony Boydell
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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 popped over to The King's Arms early on Saturday to check in with the Landlord, help set up tables and let those already in-place know that I would down in the Museum until 1PM if anyone fancied having a look around?!

Thus, while they were making early in-roads to the barrel of Titanic Plum Porter, I was chewing a bacon butty and doing my best impression of a Curator! I dug out a 'shooting' game from a musty corner and set it up for visitor participation: a couple of tin pistols sending elastic bands and two racks of pivoted animal shapes FTW! I also took the opportunity to look through an enormous box of old card games gifted by fellow antique-obsessive Phil Dennis (more on these some other time). Phil, himself, stopped in for a lengthy look - as green with envy at some of my acquisitions as I am with (plenty of) his! Chris and Jess, Richard Breese and Penny, Steve and others also made good use of the morning to participate in a 'proper' browse!

Hungry for both The Arms' excellent cornish pasties AND games, I locked the unit on the dot of 1300HRS and plodded up to the Pub:
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Mr Shep (of this Parish) and Nick 'Tales of the Northlands' Case construct perhaps the greatest PitchCar ever*

From gallery of tonyboydell

The forthcoming (Q1 2022) Pilgrim gets a workout courtesy of Mr Shep, Tim (poet, writer, gamer), Phil P and myself.

My first game was in at the deep end with Nick's fabulous mancala-driven Pilgrim: send your acolytes in-and-around the city to gather resources; perform good works (donating to the Community); construct roads, shrines and powerful buildings; and, wherever possible, keep your Piety up.
From gallery of tonyboydell

Thanks to my own generosity toward the good people of the City (and impressive devotion to prayer), I managed second place (which is two better than the last time I played), which was just one point behind Tim and his chain of roadside shrines. Phil managed an early 'deal' with the City's tax official but it didn't quite translate into VPs - it only goes to show that Jesus was right about all of that money-changer shit. I can't remember how John got on as I was, by this time, well on my own road to plum porter oblivion.

With a queue of birthday beers lined up on the table nearby, I officiated while the pilgrims stayed on for some more passive-aggressive and wicked interpersonal shenanigans - Nick taking my playing place at the round table:
From gallery of tonyboydell

More Jerusalem!

There was just time for the regional semi-final before the massive curry would be delivered to Chez Boydell. Unfortunately, my refreshed state led to some outrageously-stupid play in Round four (of five) which not only tanked my chances of qualification BUT ALSO those of Mr Matt Green who - quite rightly - was deeply unimpressed.


The entire back room emptied, then, as I led the Chums (pied piper-like) up the hill to Appleton House and the hot, savoury and delicious delights of the Newent Tandoori restaurant! Plates were piled high with bread and rice and richly-coloured sauces, poppadoms smeared with pickles and the whole place fogged with mouth-watering spice odours. By the time we'd all wiped the last smears from our platters and set the gaming world to rights with various discussions, there was barely ninety minutes' pub gaming time remaining:
From gallery of tonyboydell

I hate trick-taking games.

My own evening of play ended - somewhat ignominiously - with Skull King and Fool!; I am by my own admission - but more obviously by my actual 'play' - utter shite at trick-taking games. Completely useless. Indeed, during 'Fool!' (which I'm not sure has much agency within it, anyway) my group would have been better served by a hamster shredding the cards in its cheeks and shitting them out onto the table than by any kind of supposed 'decisions' on my part. I hated it and I hated myself more for all of my subsequent complaining; I think I'd best avoid this category in future.

On a more sentimental note: as I was taking stock of gifts and other received deliveries at the end of the day**, I spotted this heartfelt and touching message in my Essen-muled copy of Shinkansen: Zero Kei:
From gallery of tonyboydell

I think I've got some sovereignty grit in my eye...sniff!

*in Newent Town, at least.
**Goodness; already there's just the one more day to go and I've not played Agricola yet!
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Wed Nov 17, 2021 6:30 am
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Pedigree Chums - 2

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!
Friday: another A.M session of noodling about - further complicated by me having found a bookshelf in the local charity shop and, thus, wanting to rearrange things - ended (as yesterday) with fried meat products in bread but, this time, in the company of newly-arrived Chums delegates Richard and Richard.
From gallery of tonyboydell


Confrontation is a beautifully-preserved exhibit from the 'modern'-ish shelves with a Diplomacy-esque written orders mechanism and a smart little 'stacked by turn order' resolution queue. You're attacking countries (hexes) with the aim of controlling 8 - or half - of the hexes to win...the reason it's 8 or half is because you can 'overkill' your attacks and wipe countries off of the board! Richard C won and Richard D hated it; however, the participation award had to go to Matt who embellished the humdrum "B(5)x2 and C(3)x1 -> A3" orders with insults, war cries and propaganda headlines!

Folks would be popping in as the afternoon wore on, so extra table space was procured - as were all of the spare chairs in The Shambles' courtyard:
From gallery of tonyboydell

Come in! Sit down! Now stand up again and play Race The Rails!

From gallery of tonyboydell

It's got a good beat...

Deck-building with a proper double-meaning in DropMix: Matt taught both Richard D and myself and we pretended we knew what the Hell was going on while enjoying the groove. It's a hoot and, from various notes I've seen over the years, a bit of an unrecognised classic!

At one point, I managed to nip home for a birthday supper with 'the Fam' prior to the Evening's full house BUT the wave of enthusiastic gamers was unstoppable: a veritable tsunami of dobber-shovers! Huzzah!
From gallery of tonyboydell

The darkness descends on the wide, African Plains!

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From the sublime to the ridiculous: sheep-racing in Formula OviNE

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The most-played game of CHUMS 4 was the excellent Res Arcana with Gerv being the player to beat (he's VERY good at it!)

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Free Ride - a mixed reception for Friedemann Friese's newest network-builder.

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Richard C and I managed to fit in four games of Glory to Rome, at the Museum's counter, while waiting for a couple of tables to finish.

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Six players saw the session play out with a 9-hole round of TiddlyGolf: much erratic squidging ensued!

From gallery of tonyboydell

Superb-ia to round off proceedings for Richard and Tim and myself


Ensuring that everyone got out of the courtyard safely - whether pedestrian or motor-powered - I, dutifully, locked all the doors and gates and went home; anticipating the 'proper' start of Chums the following morning!
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Tue Nov 16, 2021 6:20 am
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Pedigree Chums - 1

Anthony Boydell
United Kingdom
Newent. Glos
Unspecified
flag msg tools
designer
Every homo sapiens needs an outbuilding within the curtelage of their property
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Welcome...to my Shed!
Avatar
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 took a couple of days off at the end of the week to prepare for (and indulge in more of) The Gathering of Chums 4; it was also a fine chance to decompress from a pretty frustrating work environment to be honest. Replacing one 'style' of work - which pays the mortgage - for one that feeds to soul, if you will.

The first job was to stick up a new display idea on the museum's door: 15 panels presenting the features and fun in a Monopoly-esque, round-the-outside track:
From gallery of tonyboydell

Prettifying the main entrance

I've got big plans for the window to the left but they'll have to wait until the next couple of frenetic weeks have passed; I'm going for a more obscured frontage but obscured by colour and words - there should be no excuse for "not being able to find the place"! In a piece of extra news, I have secured the small office and larger back-room at the end of the building - this means 2022 should see some expansion opportunities: a better games room, a dedicated entrance booth/gift shop space and more room for cabinets and shelves!
From gallery of tonyboydell

Assembling a new Museum-exclusive product

In time for Chums - but also for a Newent Xmas Fayre next weekend - I tasked the local printer to do some colour printing of my Island Racing design: everything you need for up to six players, the Winsome-esque format contains three different race route maps in The Isle of Wight, Long Island and The Isles of Scilly*.

As I was mounting and wrapping the Trek and Kwest boards, a polite knock at the window heralded the arrival of good pal, fellow designer and all-around splendid fellow Mr Matt Green. We finished off some bits and pieces of prep before decamping to Erols for a breakfast bap and a big coffee; then, fed and watered, we proceeded to the main business of the afternoon:
From gallery of tonyboydell

Jerusalem

Still in its early-to-middle development stage, Jerusalem's basic rules structure seems robust enough; it is with the content of the buildings and the overall 'pace' that we're putting in the heavy work.
From gallery of tonyboydell

Jerusalem

From a storytelling perspective - and from a 'look at it all when we're done' - it's everything we'd both hoped; however, there is still a sluggishness in the first third that needs addressing - players need more clues to get them going: when you're presented with the option to building anything, anywhere, then where do you actually start?! The long (A) road continues...

Calling it a day as the gloom descended, we returned to Chez Boydell for spicy lamb pie and a game:
From gallery of tonyboydell

Winding down with Obsession

Mrs B has been badgering me about teaching Obsession for a while, so this seemed like the perfect opportunity. She 'got it' immediately and we all enjoyed re-creating our own Downton Abbey-ish seasons of croquet, political discourse, gossip and muffins.

We rounded the evening off with the latest episode of the superlative Taskmaster: Victoria Coren-Mitchell is quite the most marvellous person on British TV at the moment!

*£10 a copy; message me if you'd like a copy posted and I'll work out the extra depending on your location!
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Mon Nov 15, 2021 11:54 am
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