Friday, and the GoC3 kicks off mid-afternoon with some solo Fish, Farewell, Forever 'action'; I say 'action' when what I mean is 'calming and theraptic deck-thinning':
The aim is - if you've not seen the Heavy Cardboard teach/play-thru already - to make your deck of 30 cards disappear up its own backside...along with the card tray, deck mat and rules too (if your 'win' is robust enough)! I've now played this six times and managed to win in three games, all with one of the additional components going as well; there's still plenty of work to try and engineer a total reverse prolapse, however.
Meeting up with a couple of the early arrivals (Richard, big Colin), we ventured over to the chip shop for a slap-up fried supper before bimbling in to Ross-on-Wye for a hustling, bustling, not-even-standing-room-only gaming:
Let us start with Res Arcana - steam-rollered by an all-conquering Smudge - but not before newly-arrived Phil managed to spill Colin's pint all over my bag of gaming goodness! Thank God for the SSG 20th anniversary bag that took the brunt of the soaking: celebratory AND absorbent! On the other tables were a second 'Res', a Ra and the potential train-wreck of a Jobbers/Boffo collaboration Letter Jam (it all worked out peacefully in the end).
Moving on to (my second run of) Electropolis:
The game certainly played MUCH quicker than last week but the happy noises from Res diminished quickly as our tile-laying, spacial shenanigans progressed. Gerv was quite a fair distance in front at the final calculation but I don't think this is going to see much table action in the coming months: "it's okaaaaaay" seemed to be the consensus (although I adore the aesthetics).
The tables split and re-formed (there was also an ongoing Tulip Bubble and a Cryptid - which was abandoned after on a few turns when it emerged that everyone had made mistakes with their Yes-es and Noes). Aaron and myself were keen to play Welcome to Centerville in tribute to the marvellous Chad Jensen (particularly as Dominant Species would've sucked away the whole evening) - who sadly passed away that day; we were joined by Phil P (long time gaming pal from my days working in London AND ale-chucking culprit from earlier) and eager-to-try-anything RoW regular Ian:
Aaron made a strong start and never really looked back; the control of the four suburbs garnering him a rich harvest of six-value bonuses that took both of his markers (Prestige, Money) to 50+. I managed a (no so respectable second by barely breaking in to the 40s BUT it mattered not as we raised a figurative glass to the jolly good fellow.
Our table finished with L.L.A.M.A. for some noisy, follow-my-card-play/ladder climbing, SdJ-nominated funtimes(TM).
The beer had flowed easily as the Plough's bijou backroom walls groaned under the pressure of almost thirty dobber-shovin', card-floppin', auction-biddin' attendees: a club record and a lucrative evening for the smiling landlady! All of this bade very well for the two days to come!
Life and Games (but mostly games) from Tony Boydell: Dad, Husband and Independent UK Game Designer, Agricola fanboy and jealous admirer of Carl Chudyk.
Archive for Show/Convention Report
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Leiriacon 2019 from a slightly-different (sometimes-inaudible) perspective;
this - along with the latest 5 Games 4 Doomsday meditation
- really illustrates how utterly wonderful this convention is:
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So the brief respite from normality is over and it's a return to my regular life; to be honest, I am happy to back - all good things must come to an end - so I can start looking forward to next year!
As 2019 dawned, it seemed as if I was heading for sparse prototype presentation: a revamp of Fzzzt! that, after playing it's progenitor at Leiriacon, seems like too much hard work PLUS the first iteration of the 1950s train traveller party game that certainly survived it's 'porting' to a tabletop visual-dexterity thing. At the risk of repeating myself, the rapid emergence and coming-together of Attention All Shipping has left me trembling with excitement: the reception by, and resilience to, serious players giving it a solid hammering has been overwhelmingly positive. Indeed, I have little doubt that we could be putting this out for 2020 - previously, only Paperclip Railways went from inspiration -> prototype -> production in a similarly-rapid time frame (and that, too, may be making a 2021 Tenth anniversary 'deluxe' re-appearance)!
I am missing my Leiriacon friends already but if you break down the next twelve months in to milestones - as you would a long journey - then there's more than enough going on to make it fly by:
- UK Games Expo in June (10 weeks away)
- Snowdonia KS Holiday (4 weeks after that)
- Family Holiday (4 weeks after that)
- Essen Spiel (11 weeks after that)
- Gathering of Chums 3 (2 weeks after that)
- Bastion 2020 (7 weeks after that) AND
- Leiriacon 2020 (7 weeks after THAT).
All this and a mailbox full of artwork, proofs and contract negotiations: it doesn't get much better than this!
Postscript: the blog title refers to my general feelings about passing through UK border controls - always tetchy and unfriendly.
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The last full day (Christ it comes round quick!) of Leiriacon 2019 began - after a must-shrouded breakfast - with a play test of a new, non-Gloomy Isaac Childres Boardgame:
It’s worker placement with resource collection and recipe fulfilment BUT the WP element is bonkers great: parallel universes where the placement of workers gets more restrictive as the game goes on; you have two turn order markers, one for each universe and placement gets more rigorous between stages. The core - very sweet and original - mechanic works beautifully but Isaac is still refining some of the courser elements: this is a good one, people.
Next, Bruno V and Meeplepeat had separate runs at Lux Aeterna:
Both survived (in easy mode) but, for Peat it was a close thing.
I managed to corale a pre-supper group for Attention All Shipping. I am SO pleased with how much this has moved on over the weekend; for a Project that’s barely a month old, it feels almost ready to pitch! I shall be mocking up the next physical iteration ASAP.
(Karthik beats me by a point AGAIN; Ella got disoriented in the North Sea.
Next - because it wasn’t time for supper yet - a round of Diamonds (taught by Ben Maddox) in which I managed to have a killer hand that won me all the bonuses and garnered me 25+ points alone!
Gaming Rules!’ impromptu live video stream drew a large crowd on the 2nd floor lift landing (a lift I nearly fell backwards in to - prime comedy moment). I first arrived with a tray of beers having navigated a crowd of jovial head-down phone watchers only to nearly be bowled over by a 10 year old racing around the atrium: “FUH-KIN ‘ELL!!!” I ejaculated, only to be given a Paddington Bear hard stare by Paul - GR is a curse-free zone. Oops!
Half-cut on the evening meal’s free wine, a pack of us returned to the table for Trade on the Tigris: Ben, Jana, Ella, Richard, Uli B and me...
Old man struggles with the tiniest of tiny icons.
A fine spread.
We filled in the TotTy decompression with the dogshit PYL Deep Sea Adventure and then finished the game session properly with Modern Art:
Ben watches as we fumble about in a vain attempt to catch his total of half a million.
The ridiculously-generous whiskey shot took us to the Bar and an hour of righteous ranting; I would’ve written this all up in the early hours but I fell asleep the moment I lay on the bed. Now, at the airport with everything signed off, stowed and/or otherwise accounted for I can tippy-tap the tiny phone keyboard with a large coffee and a cheesy bap.
PS props to Bruno, Ella, various Paulos, Jana, Ben, Uli, Richard, Nuno, Costas, Luis and many more for a fantastic weekend; you all really MUST come next year - we could hire a minibus?!
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Ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooh, what a beautiful mornin’; oh what a beautiful daaaaaaaaay! Yes indeed, dear hearts; I set myself a longer lie-in and snoozed until a decadent 8.30am. Aside from an aching knee, it was a comfortable sleep made all the more satisfying by the glorious A.M weather.
Uli greeted me cheerily with his fabulous ‘Tony Scream’ tee...as did Ben with his ‘Can You Not Cheat’ one: I made $4 profit from those two.
Above: I managed to get thru five tests of Attention All Shipping today and VERY damn useful they were too; indeed, the game at 10AM had been smoothed significantly come 7PM.
Just prior to supper, we (Ben, Meeplepeat, Bruno & I) fit in a quick Fzzzt!; hashtag ‘bad teacher’ as I was merciless in my crushing.
And, so, to the main event: An Infamous Traffic. Playing a serious game while getting pissed with Uli B is now an essential convention date and, like last year’s John Company debacle, AIT did not disappoint! A full and eager five pumped opium into China and had an hilarious riot of a time doing so. I may have arsed my finances for the sake of a 3VP peerage but it garnered me second place! Incredible game.
We closed with Arboretum (awful) and then 6 Nimmt (sublime) and then, ploddingly/wearily to bed.
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The tiny phone must serve as this evening’s conduit of blogular chronicalisation because I’ve left my laptop in the UK. The journey was pretty unremarkable until we approached Lisbon in glorious sunshine - see the photos above!
It was an upsy-downsy journey North what with me getting used to manual transmission again AND left-hand drive! The sea front was warm and windy with huge waves breaking on the sandy beach.
There was time, after the generous welcome, to fit in Attention All Shipping before supper with Richard and my official Leiriacon minder (!) Bruno. Joined by many pals, we scoffed and then returned to the main room for Jumpdrive, Glory to Rome and Skull King. Ben M joined Richard and me for GtR and - because we were guiding him - he win with a whomping 42 points!
Cheap beer and jolly banter saw us all to the ridiculous hour of 3AM and here: tapping the screen of my iPhone when I should be sleeping.
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This is me today: a travellin' man. Car then plane then car to take me - and pal Ricardo - to the North-Western shores of Portugal: LeiriaCon 2019 awaits.
As well as being a hub for an expected 400 or real gamers, a great many of us publisher and media peeps are making the trek too: 'locals' Bruno, Nuno, Paulo, Vital, Mariano and Veronica PLUS 'internationals' Ben Maddox, Matthias Nagy, Matthias Cramer, Markus and Inka Brand, Paul Grogan, Isaac Childres, Uli B, Stefan Stadler, Citie Lo and Ella Ampongan. Goodness, I need to take my autograph book!
I've already been invited to a game of Tales of the Northlands: The Sagas of Noggin the Nog on Saturday plus all of the playtesting I want to get covered; which reminds me: I must remember to get enough 'social beer' euros out of the SSG expense account before Stansted Airport.
Like last year, my posts for the next few days shall be mainly pics with the barest of commentary (no laptop, just the tiny iPhone keyboard, little-to-no-sleep etc).
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In Which I Am Very Much Pleased With The Quality Of Games I Played...But Less Pleased With The Lazy B*st*rds Who Don't Wash Up Their Dirty Crockery And Cutlery.
22 Jan 2019
(Bastion 2019, Days 3 & 4)
Up early, then, with the lark...and (as it turned aht) with the Crested Pipsniffer, the Greater Spotted WeeTit, the Red Bungsnuggler, the Prairie Sott and the Dwarf Huntsman Pickled Fidgett; yes, we kicked off the day's proceedings with new hotness Wangspin:
A straightforward and beautiful action-spending, egg-hoarding, tableau-expanding, action-chaining delight that will fill family and casual households and pub lounges with chirps of pleasure (without a doubt). It's mostly multi-player solitaire and you're somewhat at the mercy of your card draws so don't be too enamoured of 'complete control'. However, it does what it does butter-smoothly and pupil-dilatingly well and I simply MUST get a copy. Just as soon as shops actually have copies available: yes, it's that hype-induced, Terraforming Mars-esque scarcity again.
Having warmed up - and wandered about for chats - I was collared by Aaron by the raffle prize stall and offered the chance to 18XX; given I'd brought both 18Lilliput and 18CZ myself it was a two thumbs up and a startled-yelp-of-a-YES from me. Five of us - Denise (with child), Tom (father-to-be), Aaron, Tim (sporting a rather fetching long curl-under hairdo) and myself - settled in for just under three hours of Stock-and-Operating Round hilarity and Excel spreadsheet-powered mathematics:
1879: US Pacific Northwest is an 1830 spin-off and it was a straightforward affair. Twice I followed Aaron - to the Black and then the Orange - only for him to sell his stock leaving me with the Companies to manage. Initially fearing I'd
fucked it all to Hell and backmiscalculated, I managed to settle Black with a permanent 6 train (courtesy of an unconventional train deal 2/3rds of the way through) and off-load Orange before the Diesels could kill it stone dead. Tim was a narrow winner over Aaron; the former's Yellow Peril (UP) I abandoned just before the end and it ended up costing me 2nd place. To be fair, Tim did warn me. I've said it before and I'll say it again: those Snowdonia Dragons are an admirably-fearless bunch - willing to try any-and-everything. Chapeau, my darlings; chapeau!
It was time to start in to my small-but-perfectly-formed supply of bottled beers as the sky outside darkened (evening AND rain cloud) and fit in a couple of rounds of the excellent Fleet before the raffle draw:
We played a couple of times and, with four, we all struggled to get scores approaching mid 30s. Odd, this, as I recall (it's been five years at least) scoring much more than that previously. Ah, well; no matter as it was enjoyable - and I finally got to play a game with Dragons West co-honcho Alan.
The raffle - put something in and you'll get something else out - was a rowdy hustle of the usual 'take the biggest boxes first' which, fortunately, left me access to Rocca Town that I'd been coveting since Thursday evening! There were enough prizes for two each so I also managed to snag an under-appreciated gem: Pointless: The Board Game. Great.
Boldly, Stewart recovered from his late-night surliness and volunteered himself for a second go at the best card game ever designed and seemed to cope a little better with the flow. The problem is, of course, that unless he has access to a pal with their own copy he is unlikely to get to play this again for some time...and then he'll have forgotten it all!
The room was heating up with the hubbub of happy chatter and the aroma of takeaways (Italian, Chinese, Indian); during a scheduled comfort break, I took a couple of redundant bags and the container of Eclipse back to the car and spotted an empty parking space right outside the YHA front doors: result. Upon my return, I had no trouble in keeping the band together for Symphony No.9:I do enjoy this one very much but, as yet, have been unable to win a game!
Night may have fallen but the day was most-definitely NOT over; Paul abandoned us, however, when he realised I was proposing the noisy Fun Bus that is Chinatown:
Stewart was quite astoundingly-obstinate in his negotiations if there was to be any benefit to myself in a proposed deal; he and Ed carved out some astonishing exchanges that initially left Stewart with a seemingly-unassailable lead. A little bit of deliberate gamesmanship on my part - utterly allowable and appropriate in this to-and-fro treasure - meant Stewart shut up shop for the last two rounds and let Ed in for the win. Phillip and I danced around the madness with some generous deals of our own just for shits-and-giggle; Chinatown is not nearly as much fun when folks are playing it 'straight'.
The room had thinned out significantly as 1AM approached and so Phillip and I settled in to the corner for a test run at Foothills:
P stole 6 points off me with his final action by ending the game before I could build in Devil's Bridge. He won by 20.5 points to 18.5. Gaaah!
Unable to sleep-in thanks to a) an aching back (the beds are thin and hard, like my 'lovin') and b) the soft snoring of room-mate Andy, I packed the suitcase in to the car and mooched in to the main room to find a cloud of burnt-bacon smoke. I had promised a 5-player Snowdonia to a group of Board Games Trading And Chat UK pals (Chris, Richard, Judy and Mervyn) so I set everything up while choffing the last of my marmite toast: today they would be treated to the forthcoming delights of The Wye Valley Tourer (one of the five new scenarios included in the Snowdonia: Deluxe Master Set) - beer-drinking surveyors and tunnel-digging being the wrinkles:
Unashamedly and ungallantly, I wiped the track-bed with my fellows and placed ALL of my 16 score markers for 129 points and a 60 point lead over the others! Judy made amusing use of the Drunken Worker train (who misses his next turn when used but 'blocks' the space he'd been occupying); my 'Temperance Society' quips were especially-pertinent given that Richard is an Addiction Counselor (!).
It was almost Noon which meant there was just one more game to be played before going-home time:
I managed to win courtesy of Phillip's final choice of roof placement and immediately offered to buy this copy off (father-to-be) Tom; he refused, politely, so I pulled one off the BGG marketplace as soon as I could get access to my laptop again.
Thus ended a superb and varied weekend of games; if you're in the area ie. the North West of England OR Wales in general, you should REALLY consider coming to Bastion in 2020 (maybe sooner if they get their Summer Bastion idea confirmed) - it's friendly, cosy and full-to-bursting with enthusiastic and adventurous players. It's an absolute gem of a Con and - for just £40 including accommodation - an absolute steal too!
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There’s no way to really spice up this kind of post apart from, maybe, liberally littering it with expletives but - because I’m wearing my nipple-teaser Surprised Stare Games Ltd pissyfishing hat today – I’m going to rein myself the fuck in. Some of you, of course, will be cocking well aware that the UK Friggin’ Games Expo (UKFGE) is next weekend (1st – 3rd Shitting June) and I’ll be hip-grinding my way up the M5/M42 with a bollocks car load of North American Railways (with a special show price of £20)
and these promotional (chest)puppies:
In addition, we’ll bastard have Snowdonia: The Siege of Petersburg / The Channel Tunnel 1881 for a titty tenner (£10) and – so I am ASS-ured – a few copies of the Tsavo Lions charity postcard (also for a tenner, all proceeds to the Ugandan Games Club fund!).
Apologies, again, for the humbumdrum nature of this jizz.
Oh, BTW; yesterday's cartoon was taken by some on Facebook as a veiled announcement of the passing of my own parental and was followed by some very kind wishes. Ho-hum.
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