Everyone Needs A Shed

Life and Games (but mostly games) from Tony Boydell: Father, Grandfather, Husband and Independent UK Game Designer.

Archive for Show/Convention Report

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In-FISA-ble

Anthony Boydell
United Kingdom
Newent. Glos
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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:
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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
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!
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:
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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:
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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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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!
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*

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

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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!
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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!

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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
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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 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.
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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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Fingers crossed

Anthony Boydell
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Yesterday, then, the news that HABA have pulled out of 'live' conventions for the rest of the Year; hot on the heels of last week's Essen no-shows for 2F-Spiele / the Spring 'n'attendons pas' from Asmodee (and all of the brands that we love so much). This is, simultaneously, a Bad Thing(TM) - because it means no decent massive convention for a second year - and a Good Thing(TM) - because it further justifies my own own apprehensions about travelling to Germany.

Conversely, the small Events seem to be quite happy to pick things up again; despite a small number of 'Ooh, I've been pinged!' Track & Trace scares, it seems the UK Games Expo managed to beetle through with relative success: albeit as a shadow of it's usual self. I had a long conversation with pal Richard about his couple of days there and he was rather glowing about folks' adherence to masks, social distancing and general conscientious behaviour; this is great to hear - especially after the UKGE's original position of 'Do as thou wilt' in Q1, which firmly kiboshed a number of firms' attendance plans.

UKGE had approximately 10,000 unique visitors - about a third of the usual number - which, if extrapolated to Origins and GenCon (in terms of a 'drop off') would mean about 10,000 and 25,000 respectively; the latter sounds like it's pushing the boundary, though. Now...take 2019's Essen attendance of 208,000 (!) and we're talking 70,000: a truly monstrous - just over a Euro 2020 Wembley Stadium Final - number! So where is the physical and psychological cut-off point? For smaller conventions in the UK - Handycon (500), GridCon (300), Bastion (100) and my own Gathering of Chums (60-ish) - the prognosis would seem more positive; borne of word-of-mouth/friends attendance, there's better assurance that attendees will be sensible and considerate.

The barometer, I feel, will be Spring 2022 and - fingers crossed - the return of Leiriacon (500): it was the first Con to be Covid-cancelled (I had actually packed my suitcase for it when it was initially-postponed) and, should it go ahead, it would be a welcome marker of confidence and optimism: here's hoping, eh?

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Thu Aug 12, 2021 8:33 am
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A Virtual Con

Anthony Boydell
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Well, I managed dip in to the UKGE this weekend but ONLY via the Discord environment. Every time I wandered to the UKGE's 'Main Stages' page, there was either nothing on (with nothing showing in the schedule) OR it was some tedious marketing wank in which I had no interest. Or I got an Error 500.

No, indeed; it was a bizarre experience using 'Find' in Chrome to locate the virtual stands of peeps in whom I was interested rather than scrolling up and down the randomly-shifting presentation. Unless, of course, you were a major sponsor in which case your 'feed' was anchored to the top of the page.

With Essen Spiel coming up (so) fast, it was apparent by mid-Saturday that UKGE weren't doing anything new or - indeed - interesting; as Chris B (Cardboard Edison) remarked during a fascinating Sunday PM chat, they've just added company website links to a version of their Hall maps, pointed everyone to Discord and told us to get on with it. And then asked for payment at the end (one of those "Pay what you like" things: I 'like' zero, thanks).

I've no real idea how Essen will be different but with 1000+ exhibitors and however many thousand new games, this 'special friends get all the perks' shite just won't wash for a worldwide audience. UKGE had 'three' stage feeds but the real action was on the Twitches and the Discords the companies set up themselves: by-passing the imaginary NEC altogether!

Several things became apparent:

Sitting around 'live' and waiting for folks to ask for a demo is a massive waste of time - smaller Co.s would be better served pre-recording run-thrus and just making them available for ad hoc viewing. With no way to see if anyone is 'waiting' online - unless they make themselves known - the inactivity on a page will just move people along.

Sales - if you expected to get the same throughput as a real Con then you won't have been running a company for long; oh, I am SURE plenty of folks will swear blind that 'It was really good for us!" and "We sold loads!" but they're lying. Watching someone struggle through a 15 minute filler on Tabletopia for over an hour will NOT result in a ker-ching moment...which leads me to:

Online gaming at a virtual con is shit: Tabletopia and TS are utterly-terrible windows for demoing and should be stopped immediately. Prototypes? Yes! Actual demos? No - fuck off with the cumbersome shite: folks absolutely MUST see real limbs doing real things with real components.

Trying to digitize the physical geography of a Con is so wrong it's wrongetty-wrong.

Thus did the chat with Chris B continue and one thing I noted made the most sense: it's about the LIVE ACTION, people. Demos are time-consuming and procedural so can be pre-built for those who want a taste; where things really begin to shine is with the conversations, the arguments, the teasers and prototypes, the jokes and the friendships (old and newly-forged) - this is where an online Con needs to focus: the LIVE content.

Where UKGE had three 'special', pre-populated ('pre-sold') stages, Essen Spiel needs one virtual stage per exhibitor.

Exhibitors should be encouraged to provide regular - possibly constant for some - content, streamed from their 'Stand' with a previously-published (and indexed) central itinerary for the entire show - a fantastic example of how this might look can be found here:
. We've all got phones, so what we need is a means of linking them to a dedicated company stream and letting us all get on with it!

The tabletop events site does it all beautifully: searchable, linked to ticketing where needed and maintains a personal calendar on your behalf!

Of course, who would spend the money needed to set this up just for 2020? No-one in their right mind BUT...isn't this the perfect way to make Essen Spiel permanently available to the non-200,000 who make it to the actual Halls in future? Imagine we're on our stands with cameras and phones streaming our 'face-to-face's to anyone who wants to drop-by from home?

Imagine being able to add a company's game to your cart - from Oz or Brazil or Iceland - knowing that a shopper will be circling the Halls all-day and picking stuff up as they pass, drops it off at a parcel despatch Hall and come the Sunday the whole lot is taped and posted?! Payments could be handled as electronic payments-back to us at an end-of-show reconciliation. Jesus, this all sounds do-able and up-to-date.

We, at SSG, could stream interviews, play-thrus of prototypes, offer a Big Brother-style snoop option (rolling all the time), dances, us showing off our hauls and so on and so forth. All of it accessible from a Netflix/Amazon Prime-style wall of scrolling rows for 'Wargames...', 'Miniatures...', 'Small but perfectly formed Independents...' and so.

While we may never have to do the wholly-remote thing again (fingers-crossed), there's no reason to take the lessons learned forward and just raise the whole Convention concept to the next level!

(c) Tony Boydell and Chris B, 2020.
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Mon Aug 24, 2020 1:50 pm
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Who Wants To Be A Million-leiria?

Anthony Boydell
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Spotted on the Leiriacon feed:
From gallery of tonyboydell

A lovely little media surprise, to be sure!
God, I miss those guys!


For the third Friday in a row, I hauled my sizzled retinas in front of Skype for some Ross-on-Wye boardgaming; thankfully, we had a fourth in the form of young David, to help enrich the gaming gene-pool. David lamented the 'online' platform after the rest of sus had mutteringly-discussed the UK's impending re-opening of Pubs (part of the Tory government's grand plan to blame a second Covid wave on the rank stupidity of 'the great British public'): will we be getting back to The Plough soon? Smudge coughed up a (sensible, welcome) suggestion that we nix the politics talk and play some games.

Dave has been noodling with Troyes, solo, and so how could we not whisk him off to BGA for a full-house of dice-drafting goodness? A reluctance to see off the Event cards meant there were (I think) 10 out at the end (!) and low scores (for Troyes) all round. I did markedly worse than last week but, then, I _was_ rolling LOW red dice and struggled to keep my Influence above zero: next time...

As a palette-cleanser, we followed with a Dave's learning game of Port Royal on Yucata.de:

From gallery of tonyboydell


This took rather longer than it ought to have, for a push-your-luck filler, mainly due to Dave struggling with
a) the interface (the odd button-clicking frenzy of 'Stop' and 'Select' and 'End Turn' etc), and
b) lapsing into a mild dose of A.P.

Still, 'Two Crosses' lurched me over the 12 point threshold and a 13th from an easy purchase kept Boffo one step behind.

Dave called it an evening and - even though it was almost 2130HRS, I held back to participate in our now Traditional Ben/Becky/Tony trio of Innovations. As in prior weeks, the script followed the same worn path: two wins for Tony and one - in the middle - for a Bateson. 'Novvers is a breath-taking, endorphin rush of a game; one day I may actually get to shake Carl Chudyk's hand for the monumental impact he's had on my gaming life.

Meanwhile, in the kitchen, Mrs B and Daisy and Arthur occupied a TV-free parallel evening with some Rebound, Eco-Links and Dawn Under - not at all bad.
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Sun Jul 5, 2020 6:15 am
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Am I The Only One To Think...

Anthony Boydell
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...that GenCon 2020 (due the last weekend of July) is remarkably tardy in finally declaring that it's been cancelled? This is so late to the fucking party that only empty Pringle's tubes and a tin of expired Fosters lager remain.

From gallery of tonyboydell


I mean, the UK Games Expo - led by a medical practitioner FFS - tried the hopelessly-optimistic postponing thing ten weeks ago then recognised the reality of their surroundings* a month-or-so back; Essen - distantly shining on the October horizon - gives up the ghost yesterday after consideration of Governmental advice. Coincidentally, conveniently - SHOCK and bastard HORROR! - the GenConMen suddenly decide, the next day, that it's 'up' for them too. Had they been a shared Autumn festival then - perhaps - I might cut them a little slack BUT hanging on Spiel's coat-tails (like they are forever doomed to do) in such a cynical fashion is, well, deeply cynical...or, again, is that just me?

I say "Boo-fucking-hoo!" to their reluctant, corporate bandwagoning; I smell regret, but isn't it just regret for the loss of buckets of cash? No-one's going to be trousering wads of green from a virtual Con - apart from fucking 'Zoom', obviously.

As for The Gathering of Chums in mid-November? Well, you'd think I'd be taking advice from MY Government but that would be a 'hard pass' from me; instead, I shall keep in touch with the most excellent Landlord of The King's Arms in Newent (the venue) and take my lead from him: he makes a mean beef-burger AND serves the best beer selection in the County - I trust him over the scarecrow-haired, Mr Blobby arse-wit...
Every.
Day.
Of.
The.
Week.

*great Fishbone album
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Wed May 20, 2020 11:28 am
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Hostel Negotiator

Anthony Boydell
United Kingdom
Newent. Glos
Unspecified
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Every homo sapiens needs an outbuilding within the curtelage of their property
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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!
With the Sun rising over the mountains (you can see, below, how irridescent Ed's elbow is) - and the coffee bubbling in the pot - Friday's larks and japes began with a lightning-speed, four-player Nusfjord:

From gallery of tonyboydell

Forty minutes and we're done: Tim easily dominating with a Farm/loose change late 30s.


There was much shuffling and coming/going as late risers - of which there were Legion - be-fogged the kitchen with the smell of bacon, pancakes, toast and more coffee; something quick, between other games, was called for so I jumped in with "Would you like to try a prototype?":

From gallery of tonyboydell

Tickets Please!: a roll-and-grab that's very much ready to roll now!


David and Charlotte had arrived with their copy of Agricola while I was in the midst of a 6-player Skull; while I didn't end up winning (or even scoring a point), I was pleased to have caused the robbage of at least FOUR mats from others with a straight-faced bid-upping followed by a top-of-Tony's-stack skull - bwa-ha-ha!

From gallery of tonyboydell


And so, after the fish entrée, it was on to the meaty main course and a full five for Agricola:
From gallery of tonyboydell

Basia, Emmi, Charlotte and David.


We had an Agricola noob in our midst but she was familiar with 'the C word' so there wasn't the usual wall of rules to digest; Emmi got stuck in quickly, but it was The Charlotte & David Roadshow that ran away with it: 57(David), 54(Charlotte), 43(Basia), 37(me), and 27 (Emmi). I, naturally, blame being sat to the left of the adjacent power pair and being constantly-harangued about my sloppy ploughing by OCD officionados Basia and Emmi - oh, and my card pool was terrible too. And the sun was shining in my eyes. And my leg hurt.

Aside: talking of hurting legs, I woke myself up this (Saturday) morning by slamming my shin against the bunk-bed's ladder; a strangely depressing apocalyptic dream - with a splash of sexiness - found me launching an imagined attacked at an alien-infected opposite: kicking in the realms of Morpheus AND reality simultaneously. To be honest, I was glad to be awake as the whole slumbering story was immensely-depressing.

From gallery of tonyboydell

More frenetic elbowing and grabbage for Tickets!


Aaron had been keen for me to try Tin Goose at the Gathering of Chums 3 but we never found a space; thus, Bastion 2020 afforded me the chance to give it a go:

From gallery of tonyboydell


In summary: route building and auctions in a framework of three different actions per turn. Buy fleets of planes - of varying hazardousness and fuel economy - and deploy them across the map to connect to cities for income boosts. The clever bit is that each player starts with a tableau of inefficient cards that, when covered by plane fleets, have their effect removed: first action must always be an income boost, oil costs $1 more, cannot claim income at the end of each turn and others. So, you auction planes to cover inconvenient effects and give you expansion resources: really simple, really clever

Getting myself connected and staying hazard-free boosted my income immensely; this gave me a huge end-game score bonus but - as with many games tied to your cash - I'd taken one-too-many loans and Tom stole the win. While I love the idea of aeroplane-themed route games, the Ross club is unhealthily-preoccupied with Airlines Bloody Europe - a game I detest almost as much as Splendor; Tin Goose fits the general play-style of the club so this, if I can snag a copy, might shove it to the side for at least a session or two?!

Dan - fresh from 'the Goose' - and Paul joined me for Polygonia. Both cottoned-on quickly and the board layout really encouraged everyone wandering in to others' starting tiles for over-building shenanigans. I was particularly happy when Dan pre-saged a couple of his turns with a determined "Right, then; here we go..." - is there a better sound to be made by a play-tester? Despite my deferential statue building, both Paul and Dan had maintained a steady flow of in-game scoring to stay ahead. A wonderful test.

From gallery of tonyboydell


From gallery of tonyboydell

10 minutes to kill? Why not save your space ship from a Black Hole (spoiler: I ran out of time with five cards left in the deck!)


The evening wearing on - and many familiar faces having disappeared for a Magic: The Gathering 'Theros' draft - Aaron made me an offer I simple could not refuse - my first ever game of Root:

From gallery of tonyboydell


Yes; you read that correctly. I have a copy but have never played it: fearful, as I am, of 'the teach' at the Ross-on-Wye club, Boffo would be unable to resist heckling and then there's no chance anyone would enjoy this. For shame, because - quite simply - this is an astonishing game: smart, wholly-engaging, smooth, exciting and so very different from the fatberg of normal releases. There is a reason that Root has won so much acclaim and so many awards: it's a truly great game. Wow, just wow. As the vagrant, I made it to 28 points (and one turn away from winning) when David's Eyrie swooped in with a 12 point turn to steal the victory.

Buzzing with the afterglow, Aaron waved the black box edition of Glory to Rome at me and the end of the evening was perfectly played out:

From gallery of tonyboydell


Getting the Scriptorium out in both games saw me to single-Marble utilising domination despite noble Merchant-ing nonsense from both Tom and Aaron: how fantastic to be able to play with folks who need no teaching - still the best card game ever designed.
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3 Comments
Sat Jan 25, 2020 10:30 am
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