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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If Designers Were Magic: The Gathering Cards (1)

Anthony Boydell
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Newent. Glos
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From gallery of tonyboydell

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Sat Aug 6, 2022 6:15 am
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Pixels

Anthony Boydell
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Newent. Glos
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Here's the second of my chatty man tour: almost an hour via a hand-held iPhone Instagram interview - the screen is too small so there's less room to flap my big hands about (though I do try):
From gallery of tonyboydell

https://www.instagram.com/tv/CgeXpWoPw1w/?igshid=YmMyMTA2M2Y=
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Wed Jul 27, 2022 12:10 pm
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Blame It On The Booghy

Anthony Boydell
United Kingdom
Newent. Glos
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I'm around and about the chat circuit this week, for sure! First up was this appearance with Booghy Se Joaca.
Warning: You might want to watch out for the flappy hands; I could have someone's eye out!


Additional warning: some rude words appear (as part of a sensible conversation, I might add!)
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Wed Jul 27, 2022 6:20 am
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Silent Witness

Anthony Boydell
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Newent. Glos
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Last weekend, I decided to break the bonds of the early 20th century game prototypes sent to me by the Designer's granddaughter. Feeling like a proper Curator, I gathered my tools around me and cleared a table!

Patrick Mahony was a teacher, a boxer and had a wonderfully-vivid imagination - as I discovered looking through the rolls of maps and rule-sheets - I blogged, briefly, about receiving them here: https://boardgamegeek.com/blogpost/133292/tube-or-not-tube

Having made space for myself to take a proper look - to fix any tears, flatten any crumples etc -  it became apparent that Patrick had developed himself a fictional County - replete with a full colour map and paintings of villages - and, it seems, was setting his various designs WITHIN that world eg. a golf game set in the 'Links', an Athletics/Sports Day set in one of the village's schools (see the table of competitors?/winners? in the various 'schools athletics' events below) and so on!
From gallery of tonyboydell

From gallery of tonyboydell

First for review was Racehorse Transactions; hardly the most inspiring of titles, I know:
From gallery of tonyboydell

From gallery of tonyboydell

There are several versions of this board, including reshuffles of the runners and riders in the six 'groups':
From gallery of tonyboydell

From gallery of tonyboydell

And two versions of the rules:
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From gallery of tonyboydell

From gallery of tonyboydell

From gallery of tonyboydell

As I mentioned, graphic pieces representing the County also survive:
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I'm convinced I'm missing the top section of this map

From gallery of tonyboydell

From gallery of tonyboydell

In this Mahoney-invented world, I've yet to fully review the Cricket and Golf games and an alternative (simpler) Racing design set in the Ashmead Racecourse.

And there's even more:
From gallery of tonyboydell

Patrick composed a Parish magazine that recorded play results and full narratives surrounding the games. There is a lot more to unpack - both literally and figuratively - and I may have to travel and see some of the family-retained treasures that were too valuable to be part of the donated materials.

Watch this space because this story is going to get more intriguing!
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Sat Jul 23, 2022 6:05 am
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Infernal Music

Anthony Boydell
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Newent. Glos
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In the rulebook for Aleph Null, you'll be privy to the following: the sheet music for the first movement of The Book of Hours by Nick O'Neill (aka Meepleonboard of this Parish):
From gallery of tonyboydell

From gallery of tonyboydell

The Book of Hours is, as you may already be aware, a six movement piano piece especially written to accompany your playing of Aleph Null. It is something quite remarkable and I'm so looking forward to you all being able to hear/play it when it's released at Spiel this year!

Eerie, plaintive and foreboding.

Quote:
Edit: Here's a main post link to Nick's composing story - Meepleonboard (start at the bottom and read up)
Also, there's this - a sneak preview of the game's components:
From gallery of tonyboydell

You don't get quite this many, of course...

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Somewhere to rest your Grimoire verum!
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Wed Jul 20, 2022 6:15 am
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Always On My Mind

Anthony Boydell
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Newent. Glos
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Hot night, stuffy, restless; tough to drop off and easy to wake again. Giving up the fight at 5AM, I wandered downstairs to play some Magic The Gathering: Arena (online).

As some may know, Magic: The Gathering was a huge influence in getting me started in game design. Discovered in 1994, some of the contract developers on my Project team were coffee-breaking with some colourful cards and I was curious. Within the 10 minutes I spent watching them play a game, I was hooked: at the next opportunity, I nipped into FORMAT - our FLGS at the time - to buy a couple of Revised Edition Gift Sets and some extra boosters. The Cheltenham group would meet at a central Pub to play and swap; soon we were joined by travelling folks sweeping up from Swindon - we would reciprocate at weekends when they held their Cricklade Standard tournaments or product pre-releases.

It was at one of the pre-releases - for the Mirage set, I think - that I was introduced to both Bausack and PitchCar - things that would happen when players were knocked out of the main event and were looking for something to do before going home/the side events started. MTG also inspired me to think about the mechanics of my Black Overcoat Game - from action points and tiny chits to an entirely card-driven core.

Working away during the week, as a contractor, meant filling the lonely evenings with something that was preferably NOT drinking: Monday meant Maidenhead (10 miles from my B&B digs in Reading), Tuesday was either Swindon or Hemel Hempstead (both 40 miles) and Wednesday often Aldershot (30 miles South but a traffic jammed pig of a trip) - all enabled - in all weathers - by my Honda Deauville (raspberry black) motorbike.

Aside: Magic also got me 'writing' - published articles, weekly, at Star City Games: comedic and irreverent.

The arrival of child no.3 saw me yearning to be closer to home so, in 2000, I moved offices to Swindon which meant a daily commute from home instead; the Magic-playing dwindled markedly - now only possible if attending Project meetings around the M25 and rode down 'the night before'. Thus ended spell number one.

Spell number two came as I quit my role in Swindon and started working in Central London - back to 3-4-5 weekly working: 3 nights away, four days in the office itself and 5 days working altogether. Instead of a seedy B&B run by a spindly octogenarian with a room full of electro-therapy equipment*, I stayed with fellow MTG-er - and now my great pal - Richard. Mondays and Tuesdays remained the same, as far as M:TG went: Maidenhead and Hemel Hempstead, because that's where Richard played too. What changed was the Wednesday slot: this became Euro games evening and this is where my true gaming Baptism occurred! Power Grid, St Petersburg, Through The Ages, Glory To Rome, Race for the Galaxy, Age of Steam, 18XX, Dune, Agricola, Dominion, Goa, Planet Steam, El Grande, Caylus - all the heavyweights, all of the time! Of course, this is where my designer thoughts changed too: from card game prototypes like Coppertwaddle, Bloody Legacy and Shrub** to the early mock-ups of Snowdonia and Guilds of London. Shortly into my London career, I shifted from the Magic tables at Hemel to the boardgamer side of the room and, soon after, Mondays joined Wednesdays as Euro night.

That was the last time I played Magic: The Gathering IRL until 2021 when, starting a project for the Rail Delivery Group and based in Aldersgate, I resumed my residence with Richard and we'd nip along to Amersham for a Wednesday evening draft. Covid brought that to an abrupt halt and, ever since, my crack-packing addiction has been entirely digital and - because of the way the economy on MTGA works and because I'm quite good at it - free of charge. Magic: The Gathering is now the game I 'play' the most by a monumental margin - probably averaging at least 10 games, online, every single day.

Magic was, and continues to be, a huge part of my gaming life; it was the catalyst for my game designing, my discovery and love of Euro games and my subsequent obsession with the history of games. I owe MTG almost everything, I suppose...

*this is not a joke; she had a variety of giant machines for muscle treatments and massage
**an earlier, leaner version of Scandaroon that was just a deck of cards
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Fri Jul 8, 2022 8:46 am
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I will not cease from mental fight, Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand, Till we have built Jerusalem

Anthony Boydell
United Kingdom
Newent. Glos
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Despite the playtesters
a) not listening to the rules properly (or my subsequent clarifications) and
b) not reading their cards and
c) hating the free-form nature of the build
it was entirely delighted with our playtest of Jerusalem yesterday evening!
From gallery of tonyboydell

I was trying out a new, streamlined action structure and had set an arbitrary 'first to 10 points' end condition. It's incredible how belligerent folks can become when they're playing a prototype; belligerent and illiterate! Slap a three hour, published heavy euro with a 24 page rulebook in front of them and they'll drink it up: complexity, multiple pathways, a salad of scoring options and so on. Then present them with 'get the most points by building buildings that give you points' draft and they're complaining about a lack of direction! Heavy-weight gamers with an enviable CV of meaty games experience struggling with the instruction "All players must pass a card to their right" when they don't have any cards in their hand to pass OR "What happens if I run out of voting tokens?".
From gallery of tonyboydell

Someone surrounded my Mansion with a B-road: my personal sector now useless in certain scoring scenarios...the bastard! At least they left me a patch of lawn!

Despite their tetchiness, I was totally content with the action changes: speeding up the process of gaining points such that our '10' milestone was reached in about an hour: perfect! They hated it but, importantly, I didn't. Now to make sure that the last Act in this three Act satirical 'play' sees big buildings appear as the grand finale!
From gallery of tonyboydell

To calm the fellows down, it seemed appropriate to play Keyflower - simple rules, chewy choices and sumptuous presentation - a legitimate BGG Top 50 game:
From gallery of tonyboydell

Tom had never played it, Dave Wetherall just the once and Nick/myself seriously old hands. The last time I played 'Flahs must have been 2019 and, wow, was it just wonderful to be back in its World: the sublime bidding vs utilization mechanism shining out as fresh and innovative as when it first appeared TEN YEARS AGO!

I spent much of the game with a small, quiet settlement compared to the others but pushed quietly towards collecting skill tiles while also holding enough meeples to secure a big, unbeatable bid for a linked Winter tile in the last round. Dave went green men in a BIG way and scored 18 of them against the 'two points per...' hex at the end; everyone thought he'd walked it, to be honest, but my own three sets of 'all three skills' for 30 points plus a cluster of upgraded tiles saw me to a personal best of 74VPs - just three shy of Dave's superb 77. I'll take that any day! What's so glorious about 'Flahs is that new, intelligent players like Tom only need to see it play through the once before it reveals its true power and glory: I expect him to put up a serious challenge to all-comers at his next outing! Keyflower is, truly, a great game.

We closed with a run at one of Dave's prototypes: a magnetized Qwirkle cubes crossed with that Incan/Aztec-themed, 3D game where the Chief wanders around outside scoring what he 'sees' (I can't remember the name!). To be honest, his brief rules explanation was far too brief for me and I failed to understand both 'versions' we played (it's like Dobble, having a suite of different games using the same components):
From gallery of tonyboydell

Consequently, I scored nothing at all in both runs - baffled and frustrated in equal measure; there is DEFINITELY something in it, though; even if manufacturing with neodymium magnets would be a buggerance!

Home, then, with enough time to spare to catch up with the final day's play of the Fifth Test between India and England: a thrilling end to a vibrant evening.
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Wed Jul 6, 2022 8:58 am
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Charts for Charts' Sake

Anthony Boydell
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It's here! My UK map for Mini Express plus THREE more PLUS other goodies:
From gallery of tonyboydell

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/moaideas/mini-express-m...
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Tue Jul 5, 2022 4:45 pm
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Chariots ON Fire?!

Anthony Boydell
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Saturday was Playtesting Day at the Museum: an open invitation for folks to come along and try out their own, or others', designs. I'm trying to stack the calendar with events like this to bring folks into the Town: heavens know I understand the anxiety of 'going out' rather better than before the Covid times!

Joining me for the duration were Paul and Tom, Newent Knights and - in Tom's case - a rather prolific inventor: he brought a trio of delicacies - all different from the last session we held in early Spring! After stocking up with drinks and breakfast nibbles, we kicked off the proceedings with Tom's Christmas-themed card drafting/set collection affair:

Players draft gifts to satisfy your letters to Santa for VPs. The core mechanisms are smooth enough but everything needed a bit more "oooomph!"; there was also a painful 'Coal for -3VPs' penalty for unrequited lists that needed addressing. We tried a variety of tweaks to pep-up the process: extra cards, multiples of the most common card ('sweets') usable as wild gifts ("swapsies"), more benevolent coal and a higher throughput of Lists. Plenty of notes for young Thomas to chew upon!

Next was something entirely opposite in both theme and complexity: Rome Sweet Rome - my hand-management, ladder-climbing, multi-use cards monstrosity: "Guilds of London with Tech Trees". Much more to their gaming tastes, R.S.R. was a hit with the Henly lads - Tom thumping us with a dazzling array of synergistic buildings - and I took away just a couple of minor amendments; this one feels ready to be put properly in front of a Publisher now.

For the first 'pictured' game - I'd left my iPhone on the counter as we immersed ourselves in play - Tom offered the co-operative F.O.R.E.S.T:
From gallery of tonyboydell

Inspired by Forbidden Island, it also shares a goodly amount of DNA with Flash Point: Fire Rescue. Another lighter game; family friendly, certainly, apart from the thematically-troubling "Arsonist" event cards, which we nix-ed upon drawing as just being wrong . We 'won', albeit with barely an "adequate" score, and there seemed to be nothing left to do on it: smooth, fun and complete.

Pausing for sandwiches, Tom tried to survive just one night of the Zombie Apocalypse in Triskaidekaphobia:
From gallery of tonyboydell

He came a cropper with the appropriately-named "A Dangerous Gamble" card, barely making it a third of the way through; this one tickles along very nicely as the third in my Solo Trilogy - I was even inspired, during the chatter, as to the thematic arc for them all...and it's proper Planet of the Apes-ish:
Quote:
"...you are attempting to repair your spaceship (Lux Aeterna), you realise that you are also being pulled into a Black Hole; unfortunately, you fail to escape and are sucked into a Hellish dimension where you participate in the release of Demonic forces (Aleph Null) and must survive the consequent armageddon (Triskadekaphobia). You manage to escape the zombie horror in a spaceship, but it is seriously damaged during transit; while..." (loop back ad infinitum)
To close, another run-through of Jerusalem but - this time - time-limited as I was exploring the new scoring tweaks. Previous outings have demanded a better flow of footprints (VPs) and I'd adjusted a large proportion of the Town's buildings effects to include more, and varied, ways of getting them:
From gallery of tonyboydell

Playing long-ish (90 mins with the three of us), both Paul and Tom (and, indeed, I) very much enjoyed the surreal and sarcastic nature of the tableaus that were constructed, including:
a B-road-surrounded sector of goat-worshipping, brothel-keeping monks (the brothel became a Womens' Institute):
From gallery of tonyboydell

Jerusalem's Porn Hub

And,
a dangerously-high children's slide that grew a tourist village of food, drink and medical(!) facilities around it!

Happier with the buildings, I am now resolved to remove one of the actions that tends to slow down most buildings getting into play: 'laying a foundation', as well as beefing up the vanilla 'Draw' action.
DRAW - draw two cards, one each from two different decks.
BUILD - put a building into play
UPGRADE - replace a building in play with a building of the same type OR, if you're allowed, replace a building in play with a MUNICIPAL building (the 'blue', special buildings that promote over each other to the 'big shapes' like The Reservoir, Golf Course OR Cathedral!).

A good reworking of the rulebook to include some nice pictures will also be a huge boon - this one keeps moving, pleasingly, forward; when we finally reach those dark, satanic mills this is going to be a bloody corker!
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Tue Jun 28, 2022 6:05 am
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Tube or Not Tube

Anthony Boydell
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Newent. Glos
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Opening a Museum has been like opening a treasure chest: it's becoming less about emptying a house that's too full of games and more of opening the door to other people's lives. Marked-up/personalised copies of family favourites (score pads, house rules and strategy pages included), donations from generous locals, bequests from recently-departed pals and - now - the donation of a Grandfather's game designing legacy. His granddaughter, Eileen, messaged me via the Museum's Facebook page:
Quote:
I have been clearing my attic and I have a suitcase with 13 tubes with board game plans (on paper/card with instructions) all invented by my grandad in the 1920s until 1950s. My understanding is that he sent these to Waddingtons over the years but never got commissioned. There are titles such as Prime Minister, Shopkeepers, Cricket, Racing, Athletics, Pools and several others. I wonder if yourselves at the museum would be interested in seeing these and giving them a home?
This is the result - freshly-couriered from one end of the country to the other:
From gallery of tonyboydell

And here is the gentlemen in question:
From gallery of tonyboydell

Patrick Peter Mahony (1900-1965)
School teacher, Olympic-level Boxer and Game Designer!

Once I've sorted out how best to store and display these gems, I'll blog about them in more detail: in the meantime, I've got some wonderful hours ahead of unrolling and admiring this rare catalogue!

Quote:
Aside: please consider becoming a Patron via https://www.patreon.com/themuseumofboardgames
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Sat Jun 25, 2022 6:20 am
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