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. www.surprisedstaregames.co.uk

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The Rough With The Smooth

Anthony Boydell
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After a veritable drought of audio-visual media intrusions - I think my last foray was with Garrett's Games & Geekiness back around Easter? - I plucked up the courage to visit Ben Maddox in the Post-Apocalyptic Compound for a chinny-wag. Unfortunately, I committed a bijou faux-pas and we ended up in the Latrine complex shoveling Scheiße at the groaning undead for the duration:



But hold! Stay your click 'pon the [Next Subscribed Item] icon because Ben has a little more to add with his review of Guilds of London: Wards of London:



Not as complimentary as his Alubari review but, sometimes, you've got to take the rough with the smooth. Of course, I still love listening to him.
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Sun Sep 15, 2019 6:55 am
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Ferris Wheelers' Day Out

Anthony Boydell
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Newent. Glos
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The signs for the Newent Onion Fayre pronounce it "The Last Day of Summer" and - fair play - that's been brightly, hotly and bee-buzzingly true for about 80% of the time that I've been an attendee; of more note have been the catastrophically-stormy Fayres with mini-tsunamis, sewerage overflows and sparking electrical equipment but - hey - that's not so good for bizniz.

Anyway, I used to be an active participant in the Catholic Church's book stall - the best in the show by a country mile - but my recent conversion to Athiesm has put paid to that. It seems that the only other parishoner who gave a stuff has also moved on - hopefully not in that way - so this year, as Arthur and I wandered the barely-populated street, there was a clearly-noticeable lack of decent jumble stalls. Even the charity shops - once-a-year keen to open their sorting rooms to public scrutiny - were kettling us in the front-of-shop spaces; the Aladdin's Caves closed by pinned curtains and 'No Public Entry' signs.

All that was left to me and the boy were a handful of lonely-looking fairground rides - again, an obvious reduction on previous years' car park-hogging population:


The Ferris Wheel - as old as the rekindled Fayre itself (25 years or so) - affording three minutes of Newent rooftop views for £3 per person.



Top of the Wheel-ed, Ma!



Scream if you wanna go faster? Arty takes it in his stride.


We also went on a centrifugal thing that made me feel sick and break out in a cold sweat (I needed marmalade toast and a coffee to stop the nausea) and Arthur hung around with some school pals for a shot at a rolling chair-thing.

So now, orange-y breakfast filling the belly, I am writing up the tale of our morning; the rest of the (fayre-free) day lies ahead of us and, seeing as the cloudless sky and the suncream are beckoning, much of it will be basking in the garden.

Be(e) seeing you.
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Sat Sep 14, 2019 12:43 pm
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Blogging 101

Anthony Boydell
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(posted 'early', just in case I need the preparation time)

Yes, there are 101 blog posts - after this one - before I hit the magical 3000 posts milestone and I wondered if anyone had any special requests for the celebration thereof? If it is within my gift, I will attempt to comply with zero, one or more of the suggestions provided.




Aside: do NOT spoil this until AFTER Boffo Bateson has commented below:
Spoiler (click to reveal)
I predict that he will suggest that I celebrate...by stopping.
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Thu Sep 12, 2019 6:15 am
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Consumer Rights

Anthony Boydell
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Poll: Money-back Guarantee
When a game is not welcome, for whatever reason, it's time to send it back from whence it came (preferably ALL the way back to the scumsuckers that published it) but - bloody hell! - you, apparently, need a valid reason(s)
Have you ever sent a game back to the Publishers? If not then "Good day to you!" (don't let the door hit you on the arse on the way out etc) OTHERWISE tick the reason or reasons that you presented.

(this data will be printed out, shredded and used as bedding for Mushroom the Guinea Pig)
The Start Player marker is shaped, provocatively, like a penis.
The rules were coherent and decipherable.
It is not possible to score over 100 points / it’s possible to get a negative score ie. a score worse than if you’d not bothered ever playing it in the first place!
It doesn’t support nine players.
Poor box fart.
The Start Player marker is not shaped, provocatively, like a penis.
There is no App for it.
There are too many paths to victory.
The yellow counters don’t taste like lemon.
The Mediterranean trader on the box front’s eyes follow me as I walk around the room.
The cardboard smells like cheese.
The art / iconography triggered a fit in my hamster.
It took four hours to play rather than the 90 minutes it said on the box.
Bought under the influence of FOMO.
I rated it a 1 on BGG.
The monochrome abstract game is not colour-blindness friendly.
The central currency is £ instead of $.
I cannot fit my cat in to the box lid.
I cannot fit the box lid in to my cat.
It wasn’t flame-proof.
My friend picked up a cheaper copy so we’re keeping his instead.
Twilight Imperium 4th Ed is not pocket-sized.
It wasn’t made available on Kickstarter; it was a general release exclusive.
It’s made of recycled paper rather than fresh, new tree-pulp..
I don’t like the Theme.
I didn’t see the bad reviews until after I’d bought it.
There aren’t enough promos.
The meeples are not anatomically-correct.
I had to pay MSRP.
I found a typo and, therefore, demand proof-reader remuneration.
It won’t fit on my spare shelf properly.
It contains paper money.
      87 answers
Poll created by tonyboydell
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Wed Sep 11, 2019 6:15 am
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alone in the dark

Anthony Boydell
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...I wake: it's 0400HRS and I lie there - duvet-snug - in the Autumnal dark and stare up at the barely-discernable ceiling. Just four weeks ago, I'd have been legs-stuck-out-the-side / cooling fan buzzing in the light of a bright Summer dawn: what a difference 28 days makes. My work calendar shows Essen Spiel looming on its be-grid-ed horizon and thoughts, in the gloom, turn to unboxing my first Lux Aeterna; I close my eyes and picture my favourite artwork pieces and the tummy flutters with excitement. An electric spark and this train of thinking chuffs instantly to how the Stand (4-F121) will look with all of its various boxes and cartons stacked; this is the first Spiel since 2016 in which I - personally - have a design to sell and in a Kiesling-esque homage, I'm actually pushing five (FIVE!) new releases this time! Synaptic-spark: What will I be doing in the evenings? Heavy Cardboard and supper with the Swedes and the Garretts and, gosh, maybe a trip to the Ice Hockey with the irrepressible Ulrich Blennemann. Synapse-fizz: Will I get any time off during the day? I might be demoing with Lookout and hanging out at Studio H Alubari: A Nice Cup of Tea enclave - ooh, I suggested they get a real Chaiwala serving real Chai Tea and I wonder how that's getting on.There is a rattle outside as an early-bird traveller revs too-fast down the residential street and Dopplers away; it's very quiet again - no Dawn chorus - and I can hear the tinnitus whine in my ears and I remember that I am getting old. Our eldest daughter is coming back from Australia in a few weeks and we were reminded of that first pregnancy - oddly during an episode of The Handmaid's Tale - when me and Mrs B would just sit and watch Alice's knee/foot/elbow push up Mrs B's belly as she spun around in the womb. I had long hair back then - a big pony tail falling down the middle of my back and looking like it was trying to drag my fringe along with it. We decorated our first home throughout: striping away the old paint and paper and adding our own. I remember we came back from the maternity hospital - just down the road (and now a site of Student Accommodation for thousands - no original bricks remain) - and put the sleeping babe on the sofa and just stared at her for 10 minutes: "What the Hell do we do now?", we laughed. And then we hugged each other and we wept. I still can't drift off but am resisting the (very strong) urge to pick up my phone and check the news: every day is a will-sapping, rollercoaster ride of cautious optimism, frustration, rage, pessimism and confusion. I refuse to get drawn in to the lurking anxiety and fluff up the pillows instead; this has given me enough of a distraction and I decide I need a pee. It's amazing how cold your feet can get in the two minutes it takes to nip to the toilet and back; I wrap them in the duvet, rubbing them together, to regain the previous soothing warmth. Arthur seems to be enjoying his new School; my melancholy at his inevitable 'growing up' is tempered by the fact that he and I are spending an average of 90 minutes a day playing with Lego: he's building an Optimus Prime model from an indie book of designs while I'm pushing forward on ever-smaller and ever-more-intricate puzzle boxes: the air is alive with the near-constant scrattle of us sifting pieces. We managed to slip a Lego card in to The Black Overcoat Game - an obstacle that makes passing through a location painful - at the request of the children; we played it last night and Karen won. It was the first time in ages that Daisy joined us: she's been very low recently but seems on the mend at last - my thoughts turn to Daisy's story-of-the-last-few-years and I feel sad in the gloom. What's in store for all of the children? How is the madness going to resolve itself? Could we / should we just move somewhere else and start all over again? I feel like I've been walking on egg-shells for so long now: even my regular anti-panic medication seems to be buckling under the stress of everything. Shaking the morbidity off, I force myself to imagine how Spiel will be again: this is a happy place, indeed. Those Lux cards are going to look soooooo sweet...
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Tue Sep 10, 2019 11:35 am
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Mash

Anthony Boydell
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Board game mash-ups are becoming a lot more popular: tried-and-tested, familiar mechanisms spiced with a refreshed theme equals Hotness VIP Pass guaranteed. So, with that in mind, here are some of my own ideas for board game mash-ups - of course, add your own in the comments if you can be bastard-bothered.

Kiesling's tile-selection super-hit meets TMG's Scoville in My Azul Is On Fire!.

Don't forget to get your hands on the Essen promos for Underwater Cities - Underwater Cities: Oh Shit Who Left That Porthole Open?!

Crossing Speak Out with Dragon's Breath to give us the strange (and smelly) Kingdom Breath: Monster.

Cathedral building on the Indian subcontinent in The Pilaus Of The Earth.

Enter the world of male genital piercing through tableau building and card combos in Wang's Pin (the art is incredible).

Longing for another Pfister game with the thematic / racial controversy of Mombasa? Why not try Black Up: Hong Kong (two-for-the-price-of-one!)?

Fancy some deck building in a Cambrian landscape? Then you need to get A Few Acres of Snowdonia. And speaking of Wales, how about Welsh baking takes on Feldian point salad in Bara Bara Brith? Or the woes of being stuck in the UKs most miserable town in 1966: Tears To Many Merthyrs.

Deeper narrative in gaming has also become a major selling point so I propose Kneading On: The Troubled Loaf of Baker Illy. Or The 7th Incontinence: card-based, wet-your-own adventures?

Aside: Will the Fr version of Letter Jam be called French Letter Jam?

BTW did you know that Mr Knizia has a new game about Skydiving and he's working with a mutual developer? yes, indeed: Reiner drops Keep Falling on my Ed(itor).


Er..this was another of those 'long meeting at work' doodles; it started with the old lady's nose and developed, organically, from there:


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Tue Sep 10, 2019 6:46 am
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The Junk In My Trunk

Anthony Boydell
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Father, forgive me for I have sinned; it has been - ooh - less than a week since my last confession.

Arthur and I made the best use of a bright Sunday by attending our last Ledbury Car Boot of the Season. It seems most of Herefordshire had heeded the 'good weather' call and were out in buying and selling force: the square field being top-to-bottom lined with decanted vans and estate cars.

Happily, there were a lot more of the antique-y tables; you know, the ones with such a wide range of items that you imagine a relative has recently passed and they've just swept the house contents in to a Luton Van?

Well, Arthur was best pleased with his Enormous Bag Of Lego for £30 (haggled down from £40); while his old Papa was well-content with own haul:


Perudo, Woolies-sourced 1970s sci-fi annual, in-shrink Bohnanza, a beautiful red Corgi Aston Martin DB4, some card games, some 1970s Top Trumps and a train biscuit tin!


After gathering this next bit of kit (see below), neither of us had any arms free and - with at least half a dozen lines of tat un-scanned - we returned to the car and came home:



There are 32 of them.
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Mon Sep 9, 2019 6:20 am
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Out With The New And In With The Old

Anthony Boydell
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It's a bit pathetic, really: spending so much time in charity shops, plodding the fields at car boot sales and scouring t'Internet for old stuff. I take an enormous amount of pleasure in 'the looking' and, should I discover something unusual, in the receiving! I suppose it's still better than propping up a bar every Friday and Saturday night and pissing the money away in to an acrid, yellow lake of cigarette butts, chewing gum and horrible 'foam'?!

This time, with a lump sum injected in to the Paypal bucket, I took great care in also purchasing things for others too eg. a pair of tickets to see Martin Kemp (Spandau Ballet) DJ-ing 1980s hits in Bristol (Mrs B) and another Jo March print (Mrs B & me). But, to be honest, most of the booty was for me and me alone: the copies of Res Arcana and a 1960s edition of Diplomacy have been stowed for birthday/Christmas allocation; a 1st edition/2nd impression of Blish's A Case of Conscience relaxes on the bookshelf...

...and, then, there is this little lot:



Main Line (top-right) is a bit battered but complete: the cards printed with a variety of single, double and 'main' lines, junctions and Terminae. It's an empty-your-hand tile-laying game and curiously-gamey for the 1930s: there's neither a dice nor a teetotem in sight.

Seen At A Railway Station is a quizzy/riddle thing; each card gives a (not particularly) cryptic clue to something you'd find in a 1950s railway station...can you work out the correct answer for the card shown?

The Orient Line is just a deck of regular playing cards in a nice slip-box and with bright, lustrous silver card-edging.

There and Back Again is a word game swaddled in a railway theme: you're dealt a hand of cards with station names on and must follow with a name that begins with one or more 'end' letters of the last card in the line eg. HenDON -> DONcaster; eventually you may either run out of cards (and get points) OR play a card that loops to the first card played eg. CarmartHEN -> HENdon. Oddly, for a game of this time, the designer's name is explicity - and clearly - printed on the front of the rule booklet!



Mr Bush has a second entry in the BGG database for a Pirate-themed two-hander called Kwest: A Game of the Sea - and that looks pretty ahead-of-its-time too! No copies currently for sale, however

So far, so compact; now, though, to some larger items:


The Game of Goose...but en francais.



A pretty print of a train in a railway station.


And the piece of resistance - in my quest to get a train set (from any era):



I've gathered some other Hornby bits-and-pieces over the last few years so - with Arthur's help - I think it's time to set it up somewhere and see exactly how much ferroequinological fun we can have!

A demain.
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Wed Sep 4, 2019 6:20 am
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NSFW

Anthony Boydell
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Sun Sep 1, 2019 6:30 am
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Forty - Love

Anthony Boydell
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Today, Friday, is the commencement of Ben 'Boffo' Bateson's 40th birthday weekend!



The grumbling, wheezy fellow is caught in the inevitable, quickening drift toward Death and will have to (finally) throw off his youthful pretensions and fully-embrace middle age: yes, he will finally have a physical age that matches his general demeanor! The club can then breathe a mighty sigh of relief as he hits his H-40 index target and we don't have to keep chore gaming. Hopefully, the stresses and conflagrations associated with the occasion's organisation will also have evaporated and, finally, we can get some recent acquisitions to the table: Sierra West (I'm supposed to be doing a thing), City of the Big Shoulders (despite Mr Grogan's recent trashing) and even resurrect some play-testing of Attention All Shipping and a re-skinned Black Overcoat Game.

I first met Ben over a Geekmail, I think, when I was rooting around - pre Blog days - for possible local gaming; he was chirpy and cheerful enough - in text form - and mentioned that he'd just acquired Coppertwaddle...this would be the first of many occasions upon which I met (and continue to meet) Boffonian Scorn - the Ross-on-Wye board gamers were born!

Ben and I differ on many things - sometimes stroppily so - but, importantly, share a love of Balderdash - which has brought the players to dangerously violent laughter spasms - The Princes of Florence and, of course, the much-beloved Agricola. Actually, that's three of my 5 Games 4 Doomsday right there...maybe I should take Ben to the desert island cabin in the woods as my Luxury Item?! I have also managed, through constant play-testing exposure, to turn him to the designing dark side! Though he mutters and mumbles modestly, he's certainly got the talent for it: Foothills spins on his super-smart card-flipping idea and there's more where that came from.

He enjoys a well-brewed ale and a well-fermented cheese - which, I fear, does not bode well for his arteries - and he is an accomplished pianist (I said Pianist!); he does something metallurgical / chemical for work (I think), bounces an enthusiastic jive (you should see his wurlizter!) and will take your life savings from you at Bridge. He is opinionated, geeky, wicked of humour, curmudgeonly, loyal, warm, unreasonable, literate, enthusiastic and oddly-paternal; this is why we few, we happy few at The Plough Inn, love him.



Happy Birthday, dear chap; here's to the next forty!

Oh, and there's this too:

Spoiler (click to reveal)

It’s official! Ben is part of Agricola now!
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Fri Aug 30, 2019 6:45 am
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