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.

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Hunting tigers can be ripping fun

Anthony Boydell
United Kingdom
Newent. Glos
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Chad Valley Co Ltd. first came to my attention in the 1990s as the seeming 'in-house' chunky plastic toy brand for the Woolworths retail chain. Of course, C.V's C.V goes back a heck of a lot further than that and - thankfully - involves far less non-biodegradable polymer.

From gallery of tonyboydell

Everyone loves HATS: the box is (snug) within another box.


Another unknown-to-this-Parish item (I'll get on with the submission later), Safari "Running Tiger" Shooting Game is - I suppose - more strictly a toy BUT it seems not particularly different to more mainstream dexterity affairs like Flick 'em Up, Catacombs or Sticky Stickz.

From gallery of tonyboydell


From gallery of tonyboydell


Dusty, rusty and a little bit broken (with proud, iron pins to test out one's Tetanus jab), this copy of Safari seems to come with two functioning 'elastic band' pistols...

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...two sets of the scenery (ie. two copies merged in to one)...

From gallery of tonyboydell


From gallery of tonyboydell


...but rather an ironic paucity of fauna to murder:

From gallery of tonyboydell

A bear and a tiger?! It's not even enough to make a recognisable Life of Fucking Pi!


Those guns don't half pack a twanging-distance punch, mind; they'd have the beak off a budgerigar from 20ft! Thus, with so little to actually go on safari for - so few Pantherae to do the running - all one's left with is the guilt of a murderous generation and a Paddington Hard Stare from St. David of Attenborough.
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Today 6:30 am
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The blog has a sore throat today...

Anthony Boydell
United Kingdom
Newent. Glos
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Every homo sapiens needs an outbuilding within the curtelage of their property
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...which is why it's a little horse:

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(from the latest edition of Viz Comic)
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Sun Oct 18, 2020 6:00 am
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Old King Cole

Anthony Boydell
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Newent. Glos
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Cole Wehrle has done it again and I'll brook no dissent on the matter:


(about an hour in)


While everyone in the mainstream is going crazy - over the lighter, mass market fayre - there's a revolution going on at the heavier end: these games can be for everyone, you know?!

Pax Pamir (Second Edition) is not a complicated game by any means - you could argue that the teach for Agricola or Scythe would take longer - but it is a tremendously rich and deep game: a proper test of politics and resource-juggling, tension and subterfuge, hand management and tableau building. Like everything Mr W designs, it takes a couple of plays to settle in your mind and then it's just breathtaking.

There is no requirement to be 'good' at Cole's games either: whether you come first or last, it's never a wasted journey. Complemented by a sumptuous presentational style, Pax Pamir (Second Edition) catches the eye of every passer-by and - as a player - is a constant reminder that you're experiencing true gaming Art. How such familiar mechanisms have been combined to make something truly original is wholly deserving of Honour and Praise. That it should win this year's Heavy Cardboard Golden Elephant Award is no surprise at all - not even given the esteemed company of its fellow nominees.

Board Game: Pax Pamir (Second Edition)


If you're a gaming group that likes medium-weight games but is usually intimidated by this sort of thing then please - I beg of you! - take a look at Pax Pamir (Second Edition) - it's really not as scary as it seems and, Gods Know, it'll open your horizons in only good ways.

Many congratulations to Cole Wehrle for continuing to be challenging and, yet, so damn accessible!
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Sat Oct 17, 2020 9:44 am
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Shame!

Anthony Boydell
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Newent. Glos
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Boffo and I were recently spanked to within an inch of our lives:

From gallery of tonyboydell


Thrashed, I tell you; until our farming botties were red-raw!

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Sat Oct 17, 2020 6:35 am
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He's Leaving Home...

Anthony Boydell
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Newent. Glos
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When life serves you lemons, one is supposed to make lemonade. This kind of platitude is all very well when everything is going swimmingly but, to be honest, it's not at all helpful when things are properly difficult. And just because you paste it over an "inspirational" photograph doesn't mean it's going to be anything other than irrelevant. No, indeed; it is an unfortunate truth that in order to make the best of a bad situation, you need more than whale song and a friendship band woven from genuine sacred yak wool: you need a relentless determination, the emotional stamina of a Titan and some money.

Our eldest boy - Fred - has had a troubled life: being the first Boydell boy, we - Mrs B and I - were woefully unprepared for the trials and tribulations that would follow. Two children (both girls) into the family dynamic and we were confident we knew how to address any situation: Fred's Non-Verbal Learning Disorder put our over-confidence into sharp relief. We didn't recognize the signs until much later: teenage tears filled with socially-awkward scenarios, bullying, peer-group let-downs, self-harm and noisy outbursts. Psychiatric consultations, medication, therapy, schooling and counselling have been inconsistent - sometimes yielding progress and sometimes huge disappointment.

The most recent episode - consequent to my Father's recent visit - saw us on the very precipice of the ultimate familial tragedy: a lad, who so desperately wants to fly the nest and live an independent life, finds himself confused, frustrated, trapped and alone: 100 miles from home.

Then, on Tuesday - after 10 years of interviews, application forms, cross-County commutes and Doctors' appointments - something finally went Fred's (and our) way: he received confirmation of a place in assisted living - supported through job applications, training and life-skills while having a room of his own that's not at home; an opportunity to find the independence that he has sought for so long. Yesterday - Saturday - we dropped him off in Cheltenham (no distance at all from Newent) to start a more self-sufficient life. Mrs B and I recalled the drop-offs of other siblings at University and of of our own transitions at a similar age.

From gallery of tonyboydell

Proud of our boy? "Proud" isn't strong enough a word.


Serendipitously, the residence is just 100 yards from the first house Mrs B and I ever bought (!) and it's the same distance from the site of the hospital where his big sister was born! Yesterday, Fred's darkest hour finally gave way to the first light of Dawn.

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Sun Oct 11, 2020 6:25 am
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Quoi?

Anthony Boydell
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Light yourself a chez longues and pull up a Gitanes. Put on your finest, matt black polo neck sweater and your soft shoes. The bottle of full-bodied red should be breathing on the occasional table; a ripe cheese too. A classic Jazz vinyl spins, popping and crackling.

It's just you and I; we two - thoughtful, curious, self-challenging, emotional, erudite - having everything to discuss and little time in which to discuss it. Thus, I say to you by way of a commencement - the drawing back of the conversational curtain:

From gallery of tonyboydell
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Fri Oct 9, 2020 9:12 am
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You can check out but you can never leave...

Anthony Boydell
United Kingdom
Newent. Glos
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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: Klemens Franz fan
Via the usual channels, I heard - yesterday - that Grand Austria Hotel is about to get some more Lookout Games love: an expansion and a touch of deluxification!

Board Game: Grand Austria Hotel




Ok, so you'll have to wait until - coincidence?! - digital Spiel to get yourself a pledge but it's a testament to the enduring appeal of this now-hard-to-get-for-a-sane-price dice-drafter that my favourite German publisher whose name begins with 'L' are taking it forward.

Although I think it's a pretty miserable experience experience with the full four players (because of the weird bouncing turn order), that's no particular criticism as Carl Chudyk's Innovation and Uwe's Le Havre are also bags o'shite at more than 3 players (and so are many other perfectly superb games). Otherwise - with three - GAH is a hoofingly splendid 75 minutes of figurative-and-literal recipe fulfilment, dice drafting and panicked pandering to the Emperor*

Lookout Games is, like Hans im gluck, a plum jewel in the crown of the German games industry; they have an unerring nose for quality designs which they back up with wonderful (Klemens') presentation, total confidence and the fullest support. Just remember that they were a relatively tiny publisher sheltering in the hopeful minor Halls of Spiel in the naughties and put - it seems - almost everything they had in to a game about medieval farming with hundreds of wooden pieces, cards and chunky cardboard tiles! To be so resolute, to have complete and total faith, in the product is admirable; these are the guys who discovered the boardgaming Beatles. It's testament to their success that both Mayfair Games and, now, Asmodee wanted a slice of the Talent Pie.

Long time readers will know that I have always loved Lookout Games with a passion - fanboying for promos when I should've been setting up my own tiny SSG stand - and that working with them on Snowdonia, Foothills and lots of other things is an utter pleasure: a 100% joy in every aspect.

Kind, generous, funny, dedicated people who have given us nothing but good things for 20+ years now: send Lookout Games your own good vibes, pick two good gaming pals and get yourself some Hotel goodness in October.

*me and He are pretty good mates, you know; I can get you a couple of influence if you see me right (nod and a wink)
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Tue Sep 29, 2020 8:51 am
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Crisis Era, Stable Era, Crisis Era, Stable Era, Stable Era, Crisis Era - Fire!

Anthony Boydell
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The glorious weather of most of the Lockdown has seen me happy to decamp to the garden, come the end of the working day, with an icy draught and a good book.

From gallery of tonyboydell


I can't quite remember where I heard about The 3 Body Problem but it wasn't that long ago and - after a frankly disappointing Axiom's End - I was rather desperate for some meaty and engaging sci-fi: I ordered all three volumes at once, risking 20 quid on a potentially-duff recommendation.

The Three Body Problem* starts off like a Michael Crichton-esque thriller-with-a-science-twist but quickly develops into quite the most vivid and bonkers imaginings since I first discovered Iain M Banks. Where Banks' outlook for a Universal future is, essentially, bright and (mostly) optimistic; Cixin Liu's vision is deeply-philosophical, unfriendly and steeped in real theory; it is also rather depressing!

I'm not going to give anything away because, quite frankly, it just gets more and more mental - the books relating the story of the Earth's next 500 years or so - and I want you to have as much fun as I did on this journey. "The Remembrance of Earth's Past" trilogy is inventive, stunning, powerful space opera. It's cold too - there's very little room for distraction - as the saga gallops from crisis to solution and back to crisis again. It's an exhausting. but exhilarating, read.

If I were to bone-pick then it would be with the saga's ending: after 1500 pages of utterly-satisfying, hypnotic sci-fi there comes an astonishing conclusion and then we get another hundred pages of insane premises, all stacked one-upon-the-other until, frankly, my poor imagination couldn't take it anymore!

Putting my bone to one side, this is the best money I've spent on books in a long time: everything I wanted and so much more. Fate rewarded me further with a copy of Liu's short story anthology "The Wandering Earth", in a Newent charity shop, for a quid - three stories in and it's just as full-on, inventive and crazy as it's big brother.

Superb stuff.

*coming to a streaming service near you soon, apparently.
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Mon Sep 28, 2020 6:20 am
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Father To Son

Anthony Boydell
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I'm afraid today's post is one of those non-gaming ones; a post about Tony the person and his woes. It's not pretty, so if this is not what you want to read then I bid you a cheery good day and see you tomorrow for some more knob gags! Otherwise, bless you for staying around.

heart

In my life, I wear a number of hats and there are two versions of 'Online' Tony: the one you see here and the one who occasionally loses his shit on Social Media (and comes a cropper). I'm not really THAT sweary (I'm more 'silly') and, despite the protestations of some, I am certainly not racist or misogynist or 'phobic'. Like everyone, I have my troubles and sometimes, when those troubles run amok, emotions drive harder than they would normally.

In recent weeks, things have been rather overwhelming at home: with lockdown recommencing - though every public figure refuses to acknowledge it - the household is heaving under the stress. Our eldest daughter wants to focus on her artistic business but being at home is a constraint; our youngest daughter is moving 10 miles up the road to be closer to work AND have the peace to start her Open University studies; our eldest son is desperate to get away and start an independent life, but his condition means he is enclosed in a cloud of frustration, anger and anxiety; our middle son has been sofa-surfing for two months after he and eldest son got in to a middle-of-the-night fight; and Arthur is trying to get back to the School routine - after the first week, he came down with a vicious cold and, what with all the noise in the house (see above), he continues to struggle.

Enough worries to keep one busy, you would think? But, no! Add one more to the list - a fresh, liquid cat turd on the Bake-off Showstopper of Life - in the form of a trio of interfering busy-bodies; misinformed, judgemental do-gooders; pompous, ignorant catastrophe vortices - my own Father, his new partner and his new partner's son - swooping in to give us respite for a few days and ending up fucking the situation right good and proper. I've been called many things in my life but it's never been suggested that me and Mrs B are abusers. Thus, I find myself steeped in my own boiling piss: one parental relationship dead but, mercifully, one eldest Son not.

They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.


And 2020 is the gift that keeps on giving.

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Fri Sep 25, 2020 1:43 pm
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In lieu of...

Anthony Boydell
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So, Mrs B took it upon herself - prior to a visit by my Pa and during a lull in the room re-locating/re-decorating works - to give the downstairs loo a makeover. It always had a loose musical theme courtesy of a collection of pop star memorabilia (my Kate Bush concert programme and ticket stubs from 1979, my Live Aid ticket, Alex Lee's wonderful portrait of George Harrison and more) but I was dispatched to the scrap books to locate anything and everything from - in particular - my Liverpool Polytechnic days. Thus, with various additional cuttings AND Alice's brilliant Queen re-paint of the medicine cupboard AND Mrs B's insistence on a sparkling, gold seat, 'twas done:

From gallery of tonyboydell


I also stumbled upon this nostalgic Ascent of (the) Man...
From gallery of tonyboydell

...but they've gone back in a dark box lest they scare the animals.


Extra fun: Games that would be appropriately displayed in one's smallest room? I'll start you off:
W-Seafall?
Pitch Khazi?
Shakes & Bladders?
Cloo? Pooloretto?
Blood Bowel?
Cistern & Taxis?
Can't Stopcock?
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Thu Sep 24, 2020 6:30 am
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