Everyone Needs A Shed

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

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Mi casa es tu casa

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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Fortune has brought me into a connection with the splendid Mr Dan Hallagan and a bijou project related to his magnum opus Obsession! Back in the way-back-when, I'd had an idea for an Activity tile and our recent discussions about something for Snowdonia: Grand Tour have brought this reciprocal piece back to life as part of a forthcoming Obsession expansion (due October 17th-31th this year)!

In a mechanism that breaks a core rule of the game, the Pony & Trap/Hansom Cab let you make use of activities owned by the other players:
From gallery of tonyboydell


Using someone else's activity won't cause their tile to flip, however.

From gallery of tonyboydell

To be added as part of the general supply (from the bag) rather than a starting piece, I hope to hear many tales of outrage and intrigue.
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Tue Sep 19, 2023 6:20 am
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Any Port in a Storm

Anthony Boydell
United Kingdom
Newent. Glos
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It's been five weeks since we last met at The Kings Arms and over a year since I played Attention All Shipping:
From gallery of tonyboydell

Seven, eager players - all fresh from various holidays - jogged cheerfully into a baking Back Room; with the promise of a gentle, narrative experience I tempted Richard - who does like a story to his games - and Sandra to the table right next to the patio doors: ah, just the slightest of breezes to cool us as we played!

I should be entirely honest and say that while both enjoyed the play - Richard, in particular - I was very much aware of a number of issues that need to be addressed...and the infamously-rejected THEME is NOT one of them.
From gallery of tonyboydell

I was particularly aware of the ratio of general upkeep time versus player action time ie. your turns are too short relative to the busy work of processing the weather. The problem, I'm sure, is that your dice workers (more pips = better actions) can only be used once ie. any boat maintenance or learning is done at the expense of being able to fish and vice versa, which feels weird because fishing is the heart of the game.

First thoughts involve splitting an individual turn into two, distinct phases with workers able to be used in both:
Sea - trawlers sailing over the horizon in the pre-Dawn to fish, pilot, explore shipwrecks, deliver to lighthouses, sell their catches and so on; and,
Port - workshop lights shining in the darkening evening while repairs and improvements are made, studies are undertaken and stories told.

I also need to overhaul the Fisherman's Tale (mini-quest) cards to attune them to these new phases and make them more easily read 'across the table'. To be frank, it was a bit of a roller-coaster experience - despite my calm demeanour - as I wrestled with the little niggles as they showed themselves!

We still had half-an-hour or so to go, and you will be shocked, amazed and (possibly) dismayed that the filler I chose to close the evening with Richard and Sandra was - deep breath - Splendor:
From gallery of tonyboydell

Splendor does backwards things to my brain - everything is opposite! - and I'm still unconvinced it is actually a game; I think I'd rather play Century: Spice Road but I didn't much like that either. No, I chose this because it was the only thing that would work in the time-frame and I'm a big boy now and just sucked it up. As it transpired, Richard remembered hating it the first time he played too - but that didn't stop him (almost by accident) cornering Emeralds and (mercifully) ending proceedings.

On the other table, young Joe was scoffing his way through a large tray of gratis roasted potatoes - the kitchen had gone a bit overboard, apparently - which didn't stop him winning a Splendor of his own and participating in some dice-related Pandemic fun with Paul, Tom and Gary.

A quick chat with Landlord Wayne, before the plod home, confirmed that he has some delicious plans for The Gathering of Chums in November: it was really good to be back!
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Fri Sep 8, 2023 6:05 am
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Crestfallen

Anthony Boydell
United Kingdom
Newent. Glos
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Today I am feeling a little dejected, deflated and disappointed: the copy of Attentional All Shipping that I'd sent off for evaluation in March - and which has been subject to a number of we-promise-we're-getting-around-to-playing-it delays - has been returned with (another) polite "Thanks, but no thanks":
From gallery of tonyboydell

Quote:
While we really like the game – specifically the way the mechanics tie into the theme, the weather system and boat upgrades – we feel like the theming itself would limit the title’s appeal.
Of course, my initial reaction is that I fail to see how the fishing industry and its history around the UK islands in the early 20th century would be limiting - especially in an Age where farming and rural industry themes are everywhere: from Pfister to Rosenberg. I mean: it is unusual but rich, well-drawn and authentic* - it's not just fish. Maybe I should take a Stress Pill and consider that Publishers know the Market better than a game designer does and, then, I remember that - having been a Publisher myself - "nobody knows anything" in this Industry: Goldman's axiom is as true for board games as it is for Movies and Music.

So, as always, my goal is to find a potential Publisher who is as intrigued and delighted by a deep, authentic, narrative and unusual theme as I am. My quest for a home for Attention All Shipping continues...


*neither an ecological habitat nor lavishly-illustrated animal in sight.
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Sat Aug 26, 2023 6:15 am
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An Odd & a Sodd

Anthony Boydell
United Kingdom
Newent. Glos
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The results of the Newent Art Competition were announced, last week, at a delightful beverages and music soirée in a breezy Shambles; Hannah asked me to draw a special cheque for the winner:
From gallery of tonyboydell


also

Matthias (at Frosted Games) has been enjoying his development work on Triskaidekaphobia a little too much, it seems:
From gallery of tonyboydell

I've half a thought that Scandaroon might be the cause of the Apocalypse in the first place...
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Fri Aug 18, 2023 6:15 am
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Round like a circle in a spiral, like a wheel within a wheel.

Anthony Boydell
United Kingdom
Newent. Glos
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A few weeks ago, I was pointed at an XPro a Twitter post containing an old film segment from BBC TV's Tomorrow's World by Mr Mark Holmes - Tomorrow's World was a popular, scientific 'sneak preview' series that spoiled the great and wise developments that would see us into a shiny 21st century!

The video is a short documentary about Denys Fisher - of company Denys Fisher Toys fame:

Denys' son, Duncan (@LakesBuddhist) commented on the thread and - sensing an opportunity for more Museum-based, curatorial investigation - I sent him a DM: what happened at the games company? does he have an rare prototypes and archive materials?

Unfortunately for me but VERY fortunate for Denys and his family, the company was sold to to Palitoy before its game period; Denys' invention of the enormously-successful Spirograph facilitating his departure. This, from Duncan, explains:
Quote:
Regarding board games - as I understand it most of the boardgames that were marketed by Denys Fisher toys came after my father had sold his company to Palitoy at the end of 1969.

Dad was a mechanical engineer so the sorts of toys he invented tended to be mechanical devices such as Spirograph and Cyclex. The boardgames were handled by others at Denys Fisher toys - probably a man called Bob Fieldhouse who was dad's managing director.

As far as board games - dad had a lifelong passion for chess and was a very strong player. I do still have his antique chess board that has been passed down as a Fisher family heirloom for several generations now
From gallery of tonyboydell

Denys' Broadsheet Obituary


Of course, Wikipedia can help with gap-filling:
Quote:
Denys Fisher (11 May 1918 – 17 September 2002) was an English engineer who invented the spirograph toy and created the company Denys Fisher Toys.

He left Leeds University to join the family firm, Kingfisher (Lubrication) Ltd. In 1960 he left the firm to set up his own company, Denys Fisher Engineering, in Leeds. In 1961 the company won a contract with NATO to supply springs and precision components for its 20 mm cannon. Between 1962 and 1964 he developed various drawing machines from Meccano pieces, eventually producing a prototype Spirograph. Patented in 16 countries, it went on sale in Schofields department store in Leeds in 1965. A year later, Fisher licensed Spirograph to Kenner Products in the United States. In 1967 Spirograph was chosen as the UK Toy of the Year.

Denys Fisher Toys, which also produced other toys and board games, was sold to Palitoy in 1970 and it was subsequently bought by Hasbro. Through the 1980s and 1990s Fisher continued to work with Hasbro in developing new toys and refining Spirograph.
From a Museum perspective, it's the games that provide the greatest interest but, with 'a fortune made and early retirement', we now have some splendid embellishments!

Here are some of the subsequent non-Denys, Denys Fisher delights that currently grace the Museum's shelves: Are You Being Served, Dig (1971), On the Buses (1973), The Fastest Gun, Thomas Cook – Snap Happy, Dad's Army (1974), It's a Knockout (1974), Generation Game (1975), Harvey Smith's Showjumping Game (1975), Haunted House, Hotel, Miss UK Game (1975), Miss World Game, The Bionic Woman (1975), Up Periscope (1975), Six Million Dollar Man (1975), Six Million Dollar Man – Bionic Crisis (1976), James Hunt's Grand Prix Racing Game (1976), The New Avengers (1977), War of the Daleks and Multi-Coloured Swap Shop (1979).
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Sun Aug 6, 2023 6:20 am
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New Faces

Anthony Boydell
United Kingdom
Newent. Glos
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Board Game Designer
Every homo sapiens needs an outbuilding within the curtelage of their property
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Serendipitously, after the recent visit from Tim Clare, my pre-set eBay notifications alerted me to a copy of The Physog Family: the friendlier sibling to the rummy-esque (and slightly-problematic) Physogs. Once again, I'll not spoil the fascinating history of Mr Jacques Penry and leave it to Mr C's upcoming video.

The Physog Family is more of a toy than a game but a bright piece of nonsense nonetheless:
From gallery of tonyboydell

From gallery of tonyboydell

From gallery of tonyboydell

From gallery of tonyboydell

What's that last "late night" comment all about, eh?!

Agree on a goal facial expression/type and then draft eyes and noses/mouths to make the best approximation of it - submitting all efforts to a group vote.
From gallery of tonyboydell

There's not much else to say about it, really.

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Sat Aug 5, 2023 6:15 am
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Another day, another quest...

Anthony Boydell
United Kingdom
Newent. Glos
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Board Game Designer
Every homo sapiens needs an outbuilding within the curtelage of their property
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Welcome...to my Shed!
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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: Iain Banks fan
On the off-chance that I might, one day, be minded to run that 2001: A Space Odyssey RPG scenario I sourced a few weeks back, I decided to supplement the Museum's RPG selection by seeking out the scenario's Host 'system':
From gallery of tonyboydell

Substitute "Short Sword" for "Laser Blaster" and you've got an entire new Product Line!
From gallery of tonyboydell

I, vaguely, recall having something Star Frontiers-shaped in the early 1980s because I was obsessed with recreating it's sci-font on my ZX-Spectrum (48K, natch); no physical artefact remains in the Loft at my Mum's, a probable consequence of an entire house move while I was in my First year at Liverpool Polytechnic soblue

A random Facebook post alerted me to this shameless clone; again, the Museum is expanding its genre exhibit:
From gallery of tonyboydell

DragonQuest Boxed Set (First Edition) - an homage/re-working/re-imagining etc

From gallery of tonyboydell

Oooh! Dawn of the Dead sounds interesting!*

From gallery of tonyboydell

From gallery of tonyboydell

Unfortunately, its bestiary contains just six examples of its raison d'être - a bit of an oversight given D&D has over 30:
From gallery of tonyboydell

From gallery of tonyboydell


I must now find nice editions of Top Secret Box Set (First Edition) and Boot Hill to be safe...
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Sun Jul 23, 2023 6:15 am
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SdJ 2023!!!!

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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Welcome...to my Shed!
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Sun Jul 16, 2023 6:45 pm
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No Donkeys? No problem!

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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Welcome...to my Shed!
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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: Iain Banks fan
This hunk of (not burning) love arrived on my doorstep a few days back:
From gallery of tonyboydell

Of course, I already have La Granja BUT - as is my wont - I couldn't help but get involved in the pre-campaign preparations and throw in the odd card design or three:
From gallery of tonyboydell

I documented all of the original contract requirements and isolated some combinations not previously used, added some delivery-focused effects (I never feel like I can deliver enough in this game) and some daft theming: voila!
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Sun Jul 16, 2023 6:15 am
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The Wizard Of Oz

Anthony Boydell
United Kingdom
Newent. Glos
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From gallery of tonyboydell

A quiet Monday but a very good friend has flown in from afar for a couple of weeks of visits and appointments and it seemed only right and proper that I open the Museum specially:
From gallery of tonyboydell

Another V.I.P to add to the Visitors’ Book!

It’s been a year since we passed and paused, briefly, in the Essen Spiel halls and much longer since we’ve sat in the same room and chewed the fat over some of our collaborative game designs!

A browse amongst the artefacts, snack lunch and a good cup of English tea - and only the most cursory mention of the Cricket - filled a happy three hours before I drove him to Gloucester railway station for his next destination (NOT London).

There’s something of interest happening at the weekend - for which I wish him the heartiest of “good luck”s - and then…who-knows-what?!
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Tue Jul 11, 2023 6:10 am
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