Every Man Needs A Shed

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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Expo-sure - The Man Who Was Thursday

Anthony Boydell
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I managed to duck out of the usual weekly meeting just after 12PM to trundle home for lunch; everything was content in the Boydell household with work going on in the garden, Arthur happily Minecrafting and Benedict on his paper round. I felt less urgency than usual to 'get going' because, well, it was a sunny day and the van was already packed and I'd promised to read some more of Harry Potter & The Prisoner of Azkhaban to Arthur (we've just gotten to the bit with the Dementor on the Hogwarts Express!) and, most importantly, Mrs B hadn't finished washing my socks and pants yet! As keen as I am to 'Expo the Shit out of the Weekend', I refuse to do so 'commando'.

Anyway, after a cheese sandwich and a mug of strong coffee, I was on the heat-hazy road for 3PM. The van, borrowed from our good friend Julian, is a VW Transporter with a long wheel base...and it rattles like a bastard, so I had to put Definitely Maybe on full volume as a distraction. I remained unphased by the motorway snarl-ups and road-works as these have been a regular feature of my Expo journeys since - ooooh - forever? I arrived, calm and seemingly knowing what I was doing, to find a nice parking spot in Hall 1 (behind the partitions) to unload; Alan and Charlie and Vicki Paull wandered in to view, almost blinding me with their synchronised hi-vis vests, to commence the decanting and trolleying to Stand A8, Hex Street:

From gallery of tonyboydell

Functional, Serviceable...and all ours.


I bumped in to a few old pals, including some of those credited in the Guilds of London rulebook, and handed out playtester copies in a magnanimous and beneficent manner then let three hours sail by - unnoticed - pulling everything in to shape. The stand is quite rudimentary by Exhibition standards but it's a form we're all acquainted, and pleased, with; as far as I'm concerned, if people have a place to sit down and play AND/OR something visible to buy then I'm content.

Dropping my couple o'boxes off at the still-being-assembled Bring & Buy zone, I took the van to the Exhibitors Car Park and checked in to the Hilton around 8PM. As I feared, my room was at one of the far extremities of the Hotel, so my aching soles flapped-and-shiny-floor-clapped my tired body to its Sanctuary...

...for a quick splash, a change of clothes and back down to the Bar for food, drink and games!

After a chat with Kara (The Bespoke Geek) and a delicious burger, I wandered in to one of the large rooms - last year a Trade Hall - to see what was occuring; at one end I found Efka (No Pun Included), Hemel's Paul, Sam Healey, Tom Vasel and A.N.Other (Tom/Sam's host for the weekend) running through the pre-game rules for Scythe:

From gallery of tonyboydell

That's Mr Vasel's hand on the right.


Leaving them to their beautifully-themed, elegantly-engineered and fascinating shenanigans (my copy arrives in a couple of months), I joined Mr Paul Grogan (Gaming Rules!) for a couple of hearty rounds of Codenames: Pictures:

From gallery of tonyboydell

It's Codenames! But with Pictures! And it's Awesome!


Come midnight, I drifted in to the foyer leaving the still-heaving, still-buzzing games room behind me, to find THIS being finished off in the Bar:

From gallery of tonyboydell

The first 'Guilds' of the show?


I couldn't tarry as I have an early appointment with Mr Wakethehellup on the 'morrow and, hopefully, with his best friend Mr Fred English-Breakfast; if you'll excuse me, it's time to take forty winkzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
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Fri Jun 3, 2016 6:30 am
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Tony Boydell's Gathering of Acquaintances 2016

Anthony Boydell
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There shall be much to-ing and much fro-ing this weekend as the family ventures forth on various, disparate, adventures. For me? I'll have the house to myself...albeit for a short while until several like-minded (and available) persons-with-whom-I-have-a-passing-acquaintance turn up to play board games.

It's a mini-convention!

Actually, it's more of an extended Friday night White Lion 'sesh' trans-located to somewhere with beds that don't need paying for.

I've set up a geeklist of what we play here:
https://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/207247/tony-boydells-...

Oh, and if you're in the area and fancy popping in then please do!

In the meantime, it's all busy busy busy getting everything ready...



...now if you could just lift up your feet and I'll do that bit under the chair. Thanks.
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Sat Apr 2, 2016 9:31 am
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Exhibitionists

Anthony Boydell
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It was my esteemed former comrade-in-arms from Swindon working days (1999-2005), Jezza, who first put me on to an exhibition of a recently-donated board games collection at the Bodlean Library in Oxford. Given that I've got several choice historical pieces of my own...
From gallery of tonyboydell

...I was intrigued and excited to go a take a peek at someone else's (albeit much, MUCH larger) collection. Cue: a Facebook Event and invitations-all-round, bartering with Mrs B and some online research as to how to get to the middle of Oxford itself without
a) being lost in the roadworks/one-way system, or
b) having to take out a second mortgage to cover the parking fees!

In the end, we decided to make it a household day out: grab a bit o' culture all round! Thankfully, Stuart Burnham was on hand to provide some free consultancy and we conspired arranged to meet up at Thirsty Meeples circa 11AM. The family boarded the shiny double-decker at the Park-and-Ride - much to Arthur's delight - and bogglered Town-wards. It was rather chilly out and a failure of communications meant my woolly hat was still in the car rather than being on my bonce; consequently, I would spend the remainder of the day de-numbing my tonsure under shop doorway air curtains.

From gallery of tonyboydell

Thirsty Meeples: some boardgames for sale, LOTS available to play...and an extensive
menu of beverages and comestibles. Please note their library copy of Scandaroon.
As for '15F' (see insert)? This does NOT stand for 'Fuck'.


It was hot drinks all round and Arthur started pulling various interesting looking boxes off the groaning shelves: Pants on Fire, Riff Raff, Loopin' Chewie, Dobble and Ghost Blitz amongst them. I, naturally, wandered over to the 'for sale' shelves and promptly pulled out a copy of Cacao for a very reasonable INDEED price of £21 ("Just pop it on the bill for Table 6, love"). The Museums were calling, however, so once we'd supped up it was back out in to the cold and a robust walk to the golden buildings of Oxford's academia. Ah, the hallowed cloisters, the contemplative quads and the acreages of bicycle racks! Stuart led the way and we saw the rest of the group (my Mrs B, Arthur, Fred and his girlfriend Becky) safely to the 'Pitt Rivers': this has a dinosaur exhibition as well as the usual menagerie of grotesque relics (shrunken heads, bugs, beasts and other bones).

From gallery of tonyboydell


Ensconced, and beginning to thaw out, we left them and walked a large circle via the Physics Department (location of a Stargazing event) and back to the Bodlean for the MAIN PURPOSE of my visit today:

Playing With History

Spoiler (click to reveal)
From gallery of tonyboydell

I came all that way for...THIS!?!?


Yes, indeed. Having expected at least a room, we were a little disconcerted to find that the cabinet of 'samples' in the main entrance foyer was NOT - as is usual - a 'taster' of the main exhibition but, INSTEAD, the whole and complete exhibition itself!

Let me work this out...

INPUTS
- up at 7AM: drinks made, dog abluted and exercised
- Like herding cats: the process of getting everyone in the bloody car
- Finally leaving 25 minutes later than scheduled
- 75 minute drive followed by Park-and-Ride confusion
- Deprivation of headwarming facilities in Wintry conditions

OUTPUTS
- An event smaller than the cake cabinet in the café!

Still, best to make the most of what we had...and that is exactly what Stuart and I did for the next 45 minutes: bantering with each-other, nose-up-against-the-glass examinations, copious photos (see below) and much accosting of passers-by! On closer examination, there was a LOT more contained in that scant cabinet:

From gallery of tonyboydell

Almost all of the earliest material is hand-coloured: sumptuous!


From gallery of tonyboydell

Intrigued by the numbered, yellow counters...


From gallery of tonyboydell

There's an awful LOT of text on them cards: time to get out the icons!


From gallery of tonyboydell


From gallery of tonyboydell

"Who killed the bear?" (this is an old Forest of Dean joke: be sure to mention it to the
Locals if you're ever passing through...they LOVE it!


From gallery of tonyboydell

A New Game of Russia vs Turkey: Now THAT rulebook is a thing of true beauty!


From gallery of tonyboydell


From gallery of tonyboydell

Oooh! Kaiser Yahtzee! How much for a Franz Ferdinand Full House?


From gallery of tonyboydell

I ADORE this map!


From gallery of tonyboydell

You can move faster using the railways, apparently.


From gallery of tonyboydell


From gallery of tonyboydell


From gallery of tonyboydell


From gallery of tonyboydell


From gallery of tonyboydell

Question: What's wrong with THIS picture?
Answer: Bloody EVERYTHING!


It turns out the collection is rather large and still be cataloged so, hopefully, MORE may be forthcoming in the future. For now, though, there was nothing left to see, so Stu and I wandered back to the Pitt Rivers and snuck a look at the shriveled heads. Rejoining the clan, albeit temporarily, we waved farewell to Mr B as he escorted Fred and Becky back in to the centre of commerce leaving me, Mrs B and Arthur to pop over to the Stargazing event. We talked to the Lead peeps on the European Extremely Large Telescope project (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Extremely_Large_Teles...)...
From gallery of tonyboydell

...discovered Lego Star Wars models in the scientists' offices, played about with the (simulated) fabric of spacetime and had 20 minutes in the blackness of an inflatable Planetarium: on the bus back to the car - the family reunited once more - Arthur, munching a salted caramel muffin of titanic proportions, pronounced it "a good day".

Yes. Yes it was.

P.S For an alternate commentary on the exhibit see here: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/blogpost/50056/boardgaming-past...
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Sun Jan 17, 2016 7:30 am
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Dragondaze Like These

Anthony Boydell
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A Señor and his sons' Saturday 'scursion Sunday Snippet


It was a boys day out yesterday! We were supposed to be on the road by 9AM but teenagers, eh? Still, I was given the chance to rack up a healthy plate of marmite toast and a steaming coffee.

From gallery of tonyboydell

Dragondaze at The Newport Centre, Newport, South Wales. Clockwise (from top left): The main trade hall from the miniatures gaming balcony found him! Arthur not too sure re: trustworthiness of these two delegates distrust proven - Arthur kicks butt when is it NOT ever time to poke a Minion in the one eye? MORE trouble - Arthur has a go at a Dalek ...and, finally: well-earned bacon-butty and chips break!


On the way back it seemed churlish to not make the most of the gloriously-sunny P.M, so I convinced the lads that a 30-minute leg-stretcher in Monmouth would be a good idea:

From gallery of tonyboydell

The River Wye, avec kayak-ers, and the end of the viaduct (from the Duke of Beaufort bridge); the gloriously-overgrown viaduct and - inset - the Troy and (distant) May Hill tunnels (see also https://www.boardgamegeek.com/blogpost/39819/view-bridge)
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Sun Sep 20, 2015 7:15 am
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Gencon Con

Anthony Boydell
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Essen is not ‘where it’s at’ anymore, apparently; no longer 'Numero Uno' in the gamer charts, it’s been superseded by a reinvigorated (CLEAR! *ker-thump-sizzle*) Gencon.

Gencon Indy now wets more pants than its teutonic pork-and-beerfest cousin; I can hardly move in my Facebook and Twitter feeds for the smug "See you there!" and "Road trip!" posts. Still, you know that I keep my eyes to the ground and my ears on the horizon for those all-important news-nuggets and rumour-pimples:

[1] With trouser-tents already twitching in anticipation, Friedemann Friese has unveiled the first expansion for 504! In keeping with the 504 philosophy, the expansion can be played as if it were the original base game and the base game an expansion; it can also simultaneously function as a re-worked sequel of itself (a la Witches Brew/Broom Service), as a prequel and the 20th Anniversary edition with deluxe components. He’s also hinted that the rulebook will be different on each of the days of Spiel 2015. A pre-show appointment sheet will also be available online for game designers to book a five minute slot in order to slap the clever-clever git.

[2] Shite Games, making their first appearance at a US convention, are hoping to preview their latest dexterity frippery Airport Security. Advertised as ‘Buckaroo! meets a prostate exam’, players take it in turns to hide items - such as bottles of clear liquid, pen-knives and Glock pistols - about their ‘person’ before attempting to get through the Security gate at a busy mid-Western US airport. The cover shows a charmingly-rendered Dixit-style graphic of a hapless, overweight tourist undergoing a physical up to the elbow from a cheerful Customs Official. It’s unclear whether their CEO will make it into the country with the production-ready prototype – fingers crossed, eh?

[3] THE DREAM TEAM ARE TOGETHER AT LAST!!! – Yes, it finally happened: Uwe Rosenberg and Stefan Feld teamed up to produce what many are regarding as ‘the ultimate Euro’...

...or so they thought! While out on a Stag Party in Koln, the dynamic Deutsche duo were photographed mulling over what seemed-to-be a complex prototype combining Rosenberg’s preoccupation with agriculture (ie. vegetables) and Feld’s with thousands of colourful components! Nicknamed All Over The Gates of Loyang, it turns out that Uwe had had one too many wheat beers and was sick in the doorway of a Church! “I thought they were playing an impromptu Aquasphere” said a fictitious passer-by, yesterday.

[4] Ubiquitous though the ‘Legacy’ concept might be, crowd-funding obsessives Two-Fingered Salute will be promoting their latest KS project Life: Legacy. Following on from its Risk and Pandemic forebears, ‘Life: Legacy’ offers pledgers the chance to have decisions they make permanently affect the course of their time on Earth: from the loss of a trivial sum of money (say $1) right up to mortgaging their Estate to buy in at the $50,000 level! Stretch goals are unconfirmed but could include the Family Expansion (a modular mechanism to incorporate extra players after the game has started) and ‘Tragically-early Death’ (for those who like a shorter game).
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Mon Jul 27, 2015 3:09 pm
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Arthur fell out of a tree.

Anthony Boydell
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I got home from work yestere'en to find that Arthur had fallen out of a tree! He was sitting at his DS, the patio doors open to the sunny garden, with his headphones on and a scratch over his left eye. When asked further, he displayed an impressive trio of long, wide grazes on his torso much to my horror!

He remained stoic and resolute.

Patting him reassuringly, if gingerly, on the uninjured shoulder, I changed out of my work togs and set to loading the car for the journey to the UK Games Expo:

From gallery of tonyboydell


As if three days in a non-air conditioned hotel function room isn't daunting enough, I have to biff off promptly on Sunday afternoon and drive across the width of the UK to Sheringham on the North Norfolk coast to meet up with my Father and Sister: Monday is my grandmother's funeral and I have the great honour of being both a Pallbearer AND a Lesson Reader.

Reading to Arthur last evening*, the 'scratch' was now accompanied by an impressive cheek swelling but he's been fully-dosed with medicaments and soothing unguents. His elder brothers think Arthur's VERY cool to be able to say "I fell out of a tree" which is not helpful in the least!

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'll be off!

*The Day My Bum Went Psycho by Andy Griffiths
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Fri May 29, 2015 6:35 am
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Scandyman. Scandyman. Scandyman. Scandyman. Sca...

Anthony Boydell
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SCANDAROON WEEK


The Tale of Scandaroon - Part 2

The period leading up to Essen 2007, after 'the Expo', was a dark and mysterious one that I don't remember too much about. There was certainly some manufacturing going on (out of our hands) and I recall the drawing of the walled city for the box art (on A1 paper), but that's about it.

External image

Small, ugly and only appreciated by a minority...the Scandaroon name seems curséd!


I drove over in the family boggler with youngest daughter Daisy (it was her turn, being a Year 6 in Primary School, to make the trip); we had a packet of blu-tac and a couple of chairs between us by way of Stand decoration on account of the non-arrival of Scandaroon from the publishers (Carta Mundi under the Project Managership of those Bastions of Incompetence, JKLM). As I sat in the bar of the Hauptbahnhof Ibis, sipping my frothy ale, I was convinced we'd be having a marvelous Show demo-ing an empty fucking table! Actually, it wasn't QUITE as bad as that, 'the product' was all in a van being driven over by Markus (the 'M'). When he eventually arrived, he slapped a be-shrunk copy on to the cheap vinyl table and I lovingly unboxed my third published design while he went for a piss.

(Irony Mode = ON)

You should know that 2007 was a very poor year for board game releases, with only:

Agricola,
Cuba,
Notre Dam,
Race for the Galaxy,
Pandemic,
Brass,
Galaxy Trucker,
Zooloretto,
Thebes,
1960: The Making of a President,
Chicago Express,
Colosseum,
Caylus Magna Carta,
King of Siam,
Felix: The Cat in the Sack,
Parade,
Before the Wind,
Ticket to Ride and Pillars of the Earth expansions,
In The Year of the Dragon,
Amyitis,
Hamburgum,
Key Harvest,
Giganten der Luft and
League of Six

...sticking their heads above the parapet of mediocrity. So, then, in such a barren field of withered vines the idea of a runaway Scandaroon hit was a very real possibility! Especially with it's "unique" presentation, bucking the trend of showy ostentatiousness* in favour of letting the game do the talking. Unfortunately, what the game said to all who passed by the Stand was "There's nothing to see here. Move along.".

Board Game: Scandaroon

A handy, dandy reference sheet - icons were great in RftG, so why not so great in the 'Roon?


During that particular Spiel, we sold sixty-eight (68) copies of Scandaroon in a show attended by 100,000+. I might attempt to reclaim some shred of dignity by reminding you all that I won every single game of Scandy I played that week - including a couple of 'full house' maximum possible scores - but I didn't do more than 20 demos in total and on the infamous 'family Saturday', I did NO DEMOS AT ALL...not a one...zero...and neither did the rest of 'the team' on our lonely Hall 9 stand.

Board Game: Scandaroon

Three people, remarkably, playing Scandaroon - Essen Spiel 2007


I might try and blame the two-day train strike that denied European's easy access on the Thursday and Friday; I might also try and blame the failure of International Cash Machine Transactions for most of the weekend thus denying eager fans of 'engaging and quizzical card games' the chance to give me €15 but I have only myself to blame. I rushed it, I cut corners and I paid the price (unlike those crowds!). I was close to tears on that custom-less Saturday and genuinely considered checking out and driving home (with m'daughter, obvs) 48 hours early (something I remember whenever I look at the lifeless blue box).

Daisy had a good time, though; she discovered Giant Haribo and trampolines and - on one of my half days off - I took her in to the centre of the City to shop for girly things: a quantum of solace in a supernova of woe.

*i.e. pictures, theme etc
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Wed Mar 25, 2015 7:30 am
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F-U-N-E-EXPO 4

Anthony Boydell
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Before my shenanigans on Sunday evening, fresh-sweaty and eye-drooping from the show, I had a pretty good 'second day'.

Here was my breakfast; please note a continuing lack of blood pudding:

From gallery of tonyboydell


Nom-nom-nom.

The 'full heart attack' was shortly followed by the usual chattering ballet that is "rearranging the Stand" - why spend 5 minutes moving stuff around when you can spend 20 minutes talking about how you're going to move stuff around? Anyway, re-jiggery was much needed after yesterday's happily-overcrowded but chair-backing-into-chair action, heightening the risk of finger-trappage. The result is a pleasingly single long 'un*

From gallery of tonyboydell


On the very spottingly-dot of 0930HRS, the floodgates opened and - for an Expo Sunday - a remarkably high volume of people came scuffling in.

(Honestly, it's a good job we don't wear nylon much anymore what with all the failures to PICK YOUR BLEEDIN' FEET UP WHEN YOU WALK! I'll happily take your money in exchange for a copy of my game but DON'T GIVE ME A BLOODY ELECTRIC SHOCK WHEN YOU DO SO!)

And thus, following the pattern of Saturday, did Sunday proceed: non...stop...demonstrations! Come 12-ish, I was temporarily-called away to a Game Design Seminar - sharing the stage with the rakishly handsome Henry Jasper of Grublin Games - banging on about Theme vs Mechanics, play-testing and carrying a notebook everywhere with you. Failing, yet again, to actually eat any lunch, I returned to full demo duties while waiting for the UK Games Expo Award results to come out (which they do, to the exhibitors, an hour before, just so one may make plans for one's acceptance speech etc):

From gallery of tonyboydell


I must admit to being wassively-disappointed by losing out to a wrestling dice game in the Best Family Game dept, but on the plus side Mr Mark Rivera is such a lovely chap that I feel utterly pleased for him** On the further plus side, I discovered - as I was trying to sneak an aluminium cargo cage in to the Hall for early-loading - that pal Matt Green and his mate Sam had won the Boardgame Redesign Contest and now spend a year being 'mentored' by Surprised Stare Games***...and the game they designed is an effing doozie! It also transpires that they had another piece of awesome news relating to another of their prototypes, but I'll say no more at this time! Suffice it to say that I was so excited on their behalf that a little bit of wee came out.

Eschewing over-rated technology such as 'tanoy' and 'microphone', various UKGE honchos heralded the end of the Event by shouting the 'We are closing now!' dismissal and, with all of us having homes to go to, almost immediately Stands were being stripped down, packed and trolleyed out-the-back. Honestly, the Yu-Gi-Oh stand looked like real-time footage of a pirahna attack!

My car was quickly sorted and I picked up a cheap copy of Camel Up for the family - I like the taste of hats, you know - and I did one last circuit to say goodbye:

From gallery of tonyboydell


A large coffee at Hopwood Services supplemented the fading adrenalin enough to get me the Hell home and then - as you will have seen from recent posts - I let sticks-and-stones break my bones.

Another brilliant, but all-too-brief, Expo; here's to NEXT year!

I wonder what our new release will be for then?

*ooh. missus (etc)
**sassa-fassa-rassa-fassa etc
***2nd prize was being mentored by Surprised Stare for TWO years etc
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Wed Jun 4, 2014 5:48 pm
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F-U-N-E-EXPO 3

Anthony Boydell
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As is customary, I found myself unable to sleep in until a reasonable hour so – armed with Wyndham’s vegetable apocalypse* - I drew myself an obscenely-deep bath. Laterz, the breakfast bar was overflowing even though it was 7.30AM and I tucked in to a hearty, but disappointingly black pudding-less, repast.

Applying the finishing touches to the stand followed and before-you-knew-it, the doors had opened and the thronging Public pressed in to the Halls; lurching excitedly to the left and right, their rucksacks impacted on the backs, chests and faces of those around them! Within five minutes of the ding-ding for Round One (Saturday), all three of our demo tables were occupied and undergoing the ‘introductory spiel’.

In Ivor the Engine[/b] the countryside has been over-run with sheep and they are preventing everyone’s favourite Welsh railway engine from getting on with his work! This is making the Stationmaster (Dai) very unhappy, so the players are taking on the role of clearing away the sheep. Players move around the board collecting ovine strays and playing cards from their hand; cards represent either jobs that need doing and that earn you points (more sheep) or can be used for one-off effects and then discarded. When a player has collected a certain amount of sheep (25 in the 3/4 player game), the end game is triggered; play proceeds back the Start Player and then final totals tallied. Players add sheep collected from travelling, sheep from the jobs they completed and bonus sheep from special ‘Event’ cards taken (they cost Gold): the player with the most sheep is the winner.

From gallery of tonyboydell


Turnover on the tables was very high with an average ‘four-hander’ demo coming in at around 30 minutes: that’s 6 an hour or, roughly, 50 throughout the day. *Phew!!!* I was explaining, supporting and chit-chatting for most of 0930-1830; breaking for presentation duties between 4pm and 5pm. It was bonkersly-busy, it was crazily-hectic; it was FUN! As per usual, I failed to find any food at all – subsisting on extra-strong mints and bottled water.

It was an absolute pleasure meeting Messrs Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone this afternoon, 2014’s inductees to the Expo Hall of Fame:

From gallery of tonyboydell


However, we did spend an uncomfortable 15 mins in a Seminar room with these delightful Gents and NO BUGGER ELSE WHATSOEVER! Completely bereft of fanboys! Punters In Absentia! A confusion with signage meant that ‘the Public’ (Bless their damp armpits!) had no idea WHO was going in the HoF and stayed away in droves. Red-cheeked, some quick thinking from head honcho Tony and the staunch Mr Michael Fox meant we decamped the VIPs to the (blaringly-loud) King’s Hall, hooked up a mic and did the presentation right there-and-then. Marvellous! Cue applause and inaudible acceptance speeches over the hubbub. We returned to the Seminar room for a low-key Q&A that was less ‘forum’ and more ‘ramblings around the fireside’; I enjoyed it, at least (but, then, I did ask a lot of the questions).

The show was almost done for the day, so I managed to snaffle the last Agricola: Bielefeld Deck deck from the Z-Man stand and then traipsed, foot-achingly, back to my room via the world's slowest elevators. Someone remarked on my carrying a copy of Snowdonia:

“I really like that game!” spake he, to which I replied: ‘So do I!".

He then looked at my Surprised Stare Games tee-shirt, back to the box and then to me and said: “You’re the designer, aren’t you?”.

Feeling a little self-conscious at being rumbled, I got out of the lift at the next stop and realised – as the doors closed – that I was on the wrong floor; a long wait for an ‘up-er’ later, I was dipping aching soles in to the bathroom sink – aaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh.

Quick change: seeky-outy-foodie – nom nom nom.

I finally met up with Sebastian Bleasdale and, joined by friend-of-a-friend David, tucked in to his prototype Snowdonia scenario and, boy!, is it a good ‘un!

Bockerlbahn: set after a great German storm when a forest of hundreds of thousands of trees were flattened. Players have up to two trains and can use 'cut wood' to power them for extra workers. It's tense, wonderfully off-kilter and just a little rough around the edges: this one is going to please a LOT of people, I think!

From gallery of tonyboydell


Returning to the Berks & Bucks crowd STILL salted away in the Yu-Gi-Oh tournament room, there was time for another prototype run-thru (a different game) which was disappointingly-underwhelming** and then ‘to bed’.

*Day of the Triffids
**...but I have extensive notes! NEVER a bad thing!
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Sun Jun 1, 2014 8:28 am
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F-U-N-E-EXPO 2

Anthony Boydell
United Kingdom
Newent. Glos
Unspecified
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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: Klemens Franz fan
Friday:
So we’re all stacked and unpacked and I’ve been hanging around this hotel since 2.30PM; met loads of people and chatted loads and unloaded loads, so it’s time to catch up with the blog.

The drive up the M50/M5/M42 was pretty much as expected: mostly quick with the occasional ‘complete slow down’. Ninety minutes after leaving home, I was picking up my Exhibitor Pass and trundling around to the tradesman’s entrance. Luckily, the hotel has a whole fleet of high-sided trolleys that they were willing to ‘lend’ and it only took two of them to empty my VW Touran; additionally, some UKGE volunteers - earning their free tickets - were on-hand to push aforementioned cargo vehicles in to the Hall and on to P25 (my home for the next two days)! Result!

Fulfilling my role as Hanno’s ‘mule’ I dropped off the Lookout Games goodies, added my clear-out games to the Bring & Buy and then set to work on the Stand:

From gallery of tonyboydell


Later, I discovered the glass cabinets (for displaying the Expo ‘Hall of Fame’ artifacts) forlornly-parked by a huge pile of rubbish cardboard and (what looked like) a small, collapsed garden wall – hardly an auspicious location for my minty copy of 1829 or the design notes for Sherlock Holmes: The Card Game, loaned to me by the good folks at Gibsons! Hopefully, they will have cleared all the shit away by tomorrow...

My hotel room is closer than last year but still a good 10 minutes walk from the foyer; I decanted pants and toiletries then ventured forth to find the chaps from the Berks & Bucks gatherings (that fed my time working away in London - see almost all blog entries before Jan, 2013) huddled in the Yu-Gi-Oh tournament hall playing Istanbul*. I came bearing prototypes and, after a quick Splendor to ‘get my gaming wood’ (so to speak), we (Dave, Steve and myself) launched in to Dice Ex Machina; unfortunately, sad news interrupted round 2 and we abandoned. Everyone agreed it was probably time for food anyway, so those of us that had already eaten** found another hall for games. Dave was keen to try Lux Aeterna and after a brief explanation, he attempted to save his spaceship from tearing itself apart...which, fair play, he did, but there wasn’t much left of it by the end: 8 derisory points! “Give it another go...if you want?” I suggested and he assented. Things were going quite well - though the monolith seemed to be speeding to the rendezvous – and then Dave (appositely-named) had an oxygen deprivation-induced brain-fart and watched much of his expensive hardware collapse around his ears: 7 points. He liked it though and he gave me an excellent idea for a good monolith/bad monolith mechanic! This is the additional piece of the jigsaw I’ve been struggling with: I want the game to reflect a distress call (yours) being responded to (monolith) but, as the game progresses, it should emerge that the monolith is nice or nasty; so some games you’re wanting the speed it’s arrival (huzzah!) or run/stay away as best you can!

The hour was getting late and, with a big day ahead of us, I retired earlier than normal. A little blogging and a couple of chapters of Day of the Triffids eased me gently up the wooden hill to Bed-fordshire.

*it looked like a Stefan Feld game TBH; all cards, counters and LOTS of icons for LOTS of effects (sigh)
**£4 for a withered cheese & pickle sandwich FFS
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Sat May 31, 2014 8:44 am
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