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)...

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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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Tue Oct 20, 2020 6:30 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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China, In My Hand

Anthony Boydell
United Kingdom
Newent. Glos
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Two enormous parcels found their way on to the Boydells' Thursday doorstep courtesy of a wheezing postie: bar code reader in one hand (WTF?!) and the top cartons balanced on the other:

From gallery of tonyboydell


'Twas the arrival of my designer copies of the Chinese language Snowdonia: Deluxe Master Set!

It seems that they HAVE fixed the problems of the English edition - at least the Halfway Station surveyor value of 7 is now present-and-correct; I can't speak for everything else as I don't read Chinese.

From gallery of tonyboydell


Still, there's something romantic about seeing exotic glyphs with the occasional familiar word popping out here-and-there.

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One of the silica gel baggies had broken in transit, so the whole thing was riddled with tiny glass pebblettes; I had to go hands-and-knees so the dog wouldn't snaffle them and distend his tiny mutt belly accidentally.

From gallery of tonyboydell


It's quite something to see other language editions because not only does it signify incoming royalties but confirms that your creation really IS finding it's way around the World! How wonderful to imagine a coffee bar in Beijing populated by five players digging their way up an unpronounceable Welsh mountain in driving rain!

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Yes, indeed; the surprise and delight never fades!

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(at least not for me)

From gallery of tonyboydell
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Fri Oct 2, 2020 6:25 am
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You can check out but you can never leave...

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: 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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I've reached the top (and had to stop)

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: Klemens Franz fan
A small-ish, thin box; hardly any creases or tears on it at all, and a simple but effective art style makes this copy of Jungle King (1960-something) - a Waddingtons First Edition - a rather pleasing find:

From gallery of tonyboydell


AKA 'Animal Chess' (and many other names), this is a little bit Shogi and a little bit L'Attaque: your animals can 'take' opponent's animals of a lower number - apart from the Rat who can 'take' anything it likes out an Elephant! Movement is orthogonal, with the aim of getting one of your animals into your opponent's den before they do that to yours:

From gallery of tonyboydell


Large, thick cardboard animal discs are comfortable to move and even the box insert serves as a colourful accessory: home for the rules rather than the (then) trad 'inside of the lid'.

Compact and bijou - like today's post!
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Sun Sep 27, 2020 6:20 am
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Underground, Overground...

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
It's been a long Summer to wait but, finally, Race The Rails has arrived! Not entirely without problems as, Thursday, the warehouse had sent out a set of children's jigsaws to me by mistake! Oh, the interminable waiting!

Anyway, the square box - generously stuffed with shredded padding - opened at the kiss of the Stanley Knife:

From gallery of tonyboydell


...to reveal my sole release for 2020:

From gallery of tonyboydell


Everything fits very neatly - and sweetly - into the elongated box:

From gallery of tonyboydell


The more perceptive of you may also notice that the ONLY plastic in the box is for the egg-timer; everything else is plastic free!

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The pawns are homed in a recycled brown paper baglet, the cards 'taped' with a recycled paper band and the inner tray made of recycled cardboard: pretty damn good, eh?!

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Note: the whole package was NOT wrapped in film but, instead, kept closed by a couple of small adhesive discs.

From gallery of tonyboydell


From gallery of tonyboydell

Eight chunky and bright player pieces!


From gallery of tonyboydell

The whole lot, laid out for illustrative purposes.


From gallery of tonyboydell

...and a credit! Small, but perfectly formed!


At the risk of repeating myself whilst waxing uber-lyrically, twenty five years ago I demo-ed my Black Overcoat Game to Roger Heyworth at Gibsons and he looked after me - wholly unaware of how the gaming world worked - very generously indeed; to see my game in the hands of his beloved Company is (for me at least) a wonderful gesture of thanks to the man who set me on the designer path!
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Sat Sep 19, 2020 6:30 am
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Bang! Bang! You're Dead!

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
The Fastest Gun is Monopoly-lite with a dash of Château Roquefort: players roll around the outside of the 'wild Western town' landing on properties and buying them...then landing on other folks' properties for a gunfight at High Noon.

From gallery of tonyboydell


From gallery of tonyboydell


You start with some money.

You pay some of it out by landing on 'Chance'-like spaces.

You buy unbought properties.

From gallery of tonyboydell


From gallery of tonyboydell


You can pay to enlist a hired gunman - if you have the cash - to duke it out on your behalf OR, if you're strapped, you gotta face it like a Man yourself.

Rolling two dice determines how far/the direction of rotation of a large cardboard circle - sandwiched within the board; should one of the few holes in that circle appear under a gunman, he falls over and is dead. If it's YOU, you're out of the game completely.

From gallery of tonyboydell


From gallery of tonyboydell

Ol' Blue didn't make it...


Look; it's pretty unplayable - at least more than once - but the 3D street scenery is really cute, the plastic gunmen are rather nice and the board is a folded piece of daft 1970s invention.

On the same day, my 1978 edition of Cosmic Encounter arrived too - complete with it's copy of Expansion #4. Obviously, this is a far more playable relic of the gloomy 1970s; and would be located in the 'Hall of Gaming Heroes' in my ultimate Museum.

Onward! I've got more oddities on their way as I type!
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Fri Sep 18, 2020 6:10 am
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Not many people know this, but...

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: Klemens Franz fan
...during the ongoing development of games at Surprised Stare, we used slightly 'iffy' alt-names for the games during prototyping; here is the full list:

Coppertwaddle was known as Coppertwattle
Bloody Legacy was known as Bloody Fucking Bastard Legacy
Tara, Seat of Kings was known as Bulls and Virgins (after the proposed currency names)
Scandaroon was known as Complicated Card Thing
Confucius was known as Confuses us!
Fzzzt! was known as Shit Robots
Totemo was known as Tony's Erection Game
On The Cards was known as Sebastian's Prototype No. 218(b)
Paperclip Railways was known as "Railbait!"; and,
Snowdonia was known as 750 copies (max)! (that's all we could afford)

We stopped after that because we were *ahem* 'a serious games company' at that point!

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Is this statement TRUE or is it a LIE?!
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Wed Sep 16, 2020 6:30 am
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No Surprises

Anthony Boydell
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After 20 years, myself and Surprised Stare Games Ltd are parting company. This doesn't mean that I and Mr Alan Paull and Mrs Charlie Paull are parting company too - no, indeed! - not in the bleedin' slightest: friends we shall remain.

Since we took a step up with Snowdonia, in 2012, I've been finding myself very much distracted by the wider Industry community - the other designers, artists and publishers - and less so with the job of physically producing stuff myself. Fortunately, Alan is exceptionally good at this and has been labouring tirelessly in the background to get Ivor the Engine, The Cousins' War, The Ming Voyages and The March of Progress to market - the latter two, of course, via the medium of Kickstarter. While he's been doing all of that - and Charlie has been supporting him and running the Paulls' Designer days - I've been dipping my designer wick with other Companies because, well, that's where I found my own aspirations lay.

From gallery of tonyboydell

Without these dear people, I'd never have gotten started in the biz.


Now that they're settling in to a comfortable retirement, Alan and Charlie would like to concentrate more on the wargaming/pocket campaigns side of things and less on the big (expensive) stuff. They could also do without my own singular brand of noisy exhibitionism, spontaneous twattery and - let's be honest - Ego.

The plan is to keep the SSG entity ticking along - after all, the legal business-y infrastructure is already established so why rebuild it all from the ground up? - and I'll step away and leave them to it.

For a multitude of personal reasons, I've been unable and - to a certain extent - unwilling to take myself away from Home as regularly as a partnership business demanded when the Paulls moved to be with their new Grandchildren. I've not been to a Designer Day for over 5 years and not even played March of Progress and Ming Voyages: I just left them to it while I got drunk with the Leiriacon, Heavy Cardboard and 5G4D crews.

We managed twenty years and have produced a catalogue of which we are justly proud (except for THAT one); I shall, of course, continue to keep an eye on the old hoss but only as a punter. Spiel 2020 - in all its virtual glory - will be my last appearance in an SSG tee: will we see you there?

Achievements unlocked...so far!!!
Coppertwaddle
Bloody Legacy
Tara, Seat of Kings
gulp Scandaroon
Confucius
Fzzzt!
Totemo
On The Cards
Paperclip Railways
Snowdonia
Daffodil Line
Ivor the Engine
Guilds of London
North American Railways
The Cousins' War
Lux Aeterna
Mission Command: Normandy
The March of Progress
The Ming Voyages
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Sat Sep 12, 2020 6:30 am
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Hub-bub

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: Klemens Franz fan

Last week I recorded 'a thing'; this week it's made it to the YouTubes:



Please watch: it's rather good, actually.
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Thu Sep 3, 2020 6:20 am
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