Wot?! It's the middle of the week already?! Time certainly flies by when you're the driver of a train and when you're ensconced in a cosy work nest 20 steps away from the coffee machine and 30 steps away from your bed!
The Game of Commando (Chad Valley Co Ltd.) is another recent quality-condition acquisition that is starting to make me wonder if I now have one of the foremost collections of rare and vintage games and gamerobelia in the UK*?! Certainly this blog has seen more pics of rare items than are currently available of the same items in the GARD database (if they have any pics at all!)!
Behold, then, the simple illustrative pleasures of Fox & Geese reinvented as The Paras vs The Hun:
*the indomitable Mr Dennis (Phil) excepted.
Life and Games (but mostly games) from Tony Boydell: Dad, Husband and Independent UK Game Designer, Agricola fanboy and jealous admirer of Carl Chudyk.
Archive for History of Games
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Like some kind of cardboard-hoarding Doctor Who, my travels in Time continue - though, you might argue, my TARDIS seems resolutely stuck in the post-WW2 era.
Five-A-Side: On me 'ead, son!
Pepys again, of course: perhaps the Davros to my Tom Baker, they're on a perpetual mission to lure me to obsessive destruction!
It's a draughts-ish abstract dressed up in painted Lead and played upon a platter of the greenest of greens:(fast forward)
I remember Christmas, 1974: tip-toe-ing down the stairs at 5AM, dragging my cuddly, green hippo behind me. The housing estate was crisply, frostily quiet; I could see my friends' houses up and down 'the Circle' with their living room lights on so I wasn't the only one awake early.
My main present, that year, was the biggest one under the tree; with my pillow case of Santa gifts on the sofa, the big box would have to wait until AFTER lunch and after the Queen's Speech in the afternoon. I didn't know what it was: the main gift was always a genuine surprise.
With the turkey carcass cooling in the dish - and Her Maj having signed off (the longest 15 minutes for any excited child) - the rectangular slab was passed to me:
We played football in every break at school; my Uncle used to give me his trading card doubles and Panini stickers too. What with my grandparents running a café, he would get 'booster boxes' of the things ultra-cheap from the Cash 'n Carry (the supply warehouse where all small traders sourced their shop stock - indeed, it was not unknown for my Grandmother to give us all a box of crisps each: 48 packets of Chicken-flavoured snacks wrapped in festive paper FTW).
As a tangible connection to some of my earliest memories, this 30 quid & collect it yourself eBay Lot is the easiest transaction of the Year: an absolute no-brainer.
Press down their heads and they'll punt a tiny, plastic marble across the sitting room: how many of these essential, yet eminently-loseable, components ended up in canine/feline alimentary canals, I wonder?
Replete with sideburns (and a vague similarity to George Best), the teams are in remarkably good condition for their age: just the one chap has a snapped leg and the 'pitch surround' looks like it's never been unfurled and pinned to the board edges!
Some people are on the pitch! They think it's all over! It is now!
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There is a seam of favourite publishers emerging from my ongoing quest to populate the as-yet-unincorporated Boydell Museum of Games & Gaming: Waddingtons - naturally - and Parker are pretty ubiquitous, Gibsons too (particularly some very, VERY early 20th century exhibits), U.P.L, Pepys and Denys Fisher Toys.
The shelf-presence of the latter two were boosted, this week, by the arrival of a companion to a previously-blogged Miss U.K: Miss World Game and another gorgeously-illustrated, small-box card game.
Miss World is roll-and-move until you collect enough points/ cash/ courage to put yourself on the Grand Stage and push for ultimate Beauty Victory.
An unsophisticated 3D board - theatrical arches and triangular staging - is accompanied by a miniature doll and her pretty cloak: one for each player.
Guiding, on the other hand, is not in the slightest bit ostentatious and vapid; instead, the simple, bright and cheery pictures suggest a lifestyle of study, challenge and sense:
The Pepys series is going to take some careful presentation in the Halls and Archives of the MOGG as the charming art needs to be shown off in full, wherever possible. They'll also be an excellent source of 'Mystery Quest' clues when I create the layered game-within-the-game-museum too.
Glamour vs Learning? I, definitely, know what kind of woman I'd like to grow up to be.
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Another golden item from the long forgotten gaming shop of our Grandfathers' youth and it's a Chad Valley Co Ltd. treasure about trains: The Down Mail (and it's not even in the BGG database! edit: it is now...The Down Mail)
Just like Fahrt ins Blaue (see late Spring/early Summer), this is a basic roll-and-mover but comes in quite the most delicate, rich and soul-easing package:
Teensy metal train sculpts - ever so fragile! - which I have transferred to (each) their own baggy; a die and a cup and some beguiling, shaped wooden cubes:
The rules? Well, I can't really make much sense of them TBH: abbreviated to the point of obfuscation. And equally-incomprehensible in French.
The board? Oddly-folded to fit in the thin box, it's a colourful treat but ever so tiny:
Even the 'close-up' makes my old eyes ache:
You little chuffin' beauty, you!
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As the shelves begin to sag under the weight of the slimline vintage game slabs (it takes quite a few as their pretty airy on the inside TBH), I've begun grouping things together by theme: TV tie-ins, train games, transport games, financial acumen games and - this weekend - 'the News':
Nationwide was the BBC's signature, daily magazine programme hogging the 6PM to 6.45PM slot: right after the 'real' news and right before Ask the Family. It's USP was that it bounced around all of the regions of the televisual UK to build a figurative feature story quilt of life across the country in all its finery, fuss and foibles.
(honky-parpy-tootely-toot to fade)
With a spin-and-move / set collection cross-over - and a scaled number of story tokens needed depending on player count (innovative!) - the rules fit over half of the inside of the box top.
The shaped player pieces - the cameras - are a lovely (unpunched!) touch, though it's hard to feel a little short-changed when the cardboard is monochrome print and a player needs to remember if they're camera A, B, C or D (the BBC used numeric IDs for cameras, back in the day).
The map board is lovely - a nice touch with each of the story spots (where one collects the tokens to go with the monitor tiles) having their own name and picture: "World Ploughing Championships FTW"!
One thing confuses me, however:
The rules state that one should spin the spinner and follow the instructions: how does one know which instruction to follow?! Erm...
Taking a leaf out of vintage Scoop!'s book, Reporter gives us front-page templates and a bona fide TELEX machine spooling out the headlines!
Roll the die, move your reporter(s) so they're close to story sources then spool the TELEX: should you be close enough to the story being offered, you can take a special card...
...if that special card matches the subject of the TELEX, then you can add the card to your front page! If not, tough tits; move along to the next breaking headline instead.
There is a mechanism for reining in the person-about-to-win - which everyone thinks is a great mechanic - and a special card that is a story for your newspaper for free and without any preconditions.
...but that TELEX, though!
Of course, I already have a couple of copies of Channel X (see also HERE) and All of The Networks Stuff; Penny Press is somewhere in The Shed, several Scoops (from various BGG pals) but I off-loaded my copy of Extra! Extra! because the ink and cardboard stank so bad (but I should really get another copy - doused liberally in lavender oil?! - to beef up the emerging set*.
So, intrepid readers, what else am I missing in this particular genre; what's the 'gen' on reportage in gaming?
*see also HERE
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Ground floor: perfumery Stationery and leather goods Wigs and haberdashery Kitchenware and food: going up.
03 Oct 2020
Anyone who was a young one in the 1970s will remember that the sitcom was King: nothing pleased the British televisual public more than a thirty minute, one-or-two-scene, ensemble cast-ed, festival of comedy - preferably with a double entendre or two (if you could slip 'em in).
Are You Being Served? was set in a department store where the Mens' department was opposite the Womens' department with a floor manager with delusions of military grandeur (Captain Peacock)prowling between the two.
It was quite the character list:
Mrs Slocombe - silver-haired spinster who kept banging on about the state of her "pussy" (at BBC family prime time, I'll have you know);
Miss Brahms - the sexy-but-dim dolly-bird (and protege to Mrs Slocombe);
Mr Lucas - lecherous 'young man' constantly chasing after Miss Brahms for a bit of nookie;
Mr Grainger - Gentlemen's fitter but never had any good lines; and,
Mr Humphries - outrageously-camp tailor who was prone to mincing around the set with high-pitched squeals of "I'm free!" but wasn't gay at all according to the BBC management: no, not a bit of it, never etc.
The grubby, course business was provided by a man in a brown coat (Alfie Bass), pompous jobsworthing from manager Mr Rumbold and occasional visits from Young Mr Grace: the Department Store's owner and nonagenarian. invariably with a dolly-bird on each arm. *phew* That took a bit of re-telling BUT once you've see the one episode, you've seen them all.
First floor: telephones
Gents' ready-made suits
Shirts, socks, ties, hats
Underwear and shoes: going up.
As with many 1970s games I've gathered this year, the publisher Denys Fisher Toys was responsible: TV tie-ins being their particular speciality, it seems:
AYBS is a bit of a scarce one, however; and, given I was a big fan of this as a single-digit, I'm rather pleased to have nabbed a pristine copy for a knockdown price.
There's nothing much to see here, game-wise - the usual roll-and-move / draw a card at random nonsense - but it got me chuckling again at the barefaced cheek of it all.
There was an obligatory cinema spin-off release: the staff went on a company holiday with hilarious consequences (see also Holiday On The Buses et al) and there was an aborted re-visit in the 1990s series "Grace & Favour" but they forgot to put any jokes in it...and Mrs Slocombe's pussy quips as a octogenarian made me heave up my supper.
Second floor: carpets
Travel goods and beddings
Materials and soft furnishing
Restaurant and teas
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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:
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 likesout 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:
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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20 Sep 2020
Miss UK is what every little girl in 1970s Britain wanted to be, apparently: glamourous, chic and glittery.
Still: the shelves of a Christmas be-decked Woolworths would be woefully incomplete without board games like this.
Plastic standee bases and 24 'regional town' winners vying for supremacy (players get one from each 'Region').
For some reason my copy has a d6 but that's not the prescribed determiner of motion in Miss U.K; that would be the spinning TV camera:
Spin, move, collect a card and tell everyone how you did in that 'round':
Collect a set (with no limit on the number you have of each of the four types) and you go in to 'Regional Scoring'. A grand finale of all regional winners is a once-around-the-board-on-your-own affair where you collect as many cards as possible - without revealing their contents - and hope they have a bigger positive score than your rivals.
Games specifically for girls aren't quite so common: the TV and movie tie-ins, economic Monopoly-alikes, the abstracts and the abstracts dressed up in history's clothing dominated - the presentation predominantly masculine. To find one in such excellent repair, too, is quite the document for the time.
The sublime Antony & The Johnsons
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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.
You start with some money.
You pay some of it out by landing on 'Chance'-like spaces.
You buy unbought properties.
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.
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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Well here's a kurious oranj indeed: Mork & Mindy Card Game.
It even caused Mrs B to raise an eyebrow! "Where do you find this stuff?!" she gasped, then retreated in to the kitchen after giving one of my eggs a fondle:
We LOVED Mork & Mindy; the school bus regularly echoed with 'Shazbot's! And 'Mork calling Orson's - our hands waving in that Vulcan 'V'. Robin Williams' effervescent comic energy, the safe morality and the sheer joy making it a cheerful accompaniment to the country's Winter of Discontent and transition to Thatcherite Britain.
Mork & Mindy: The Card Game is, basically, 'Crazy Aces/Pick Up Two' with a dash of dexterity (making a grab for an egg when a Mork card is played) and silly words: exactly the kind of 'end of the evening stupidity' that ought to tickle the fancy of the Ross-on-Wye band.
Unfortunately, only Jobbers and I would be old enough to understand what the I.P is all about! Oh, and Phil D on an excursion from West Wales. And Byll, of course (if we ever see him again). But definitely not the Batesons: they weren't even born when this was first aired and were mere infants by the time it had disappeared into the vaseline-lensed TV nostalgia bucket.
This is entirely the kind of item that delights me upon first discovery: 40 years old and still intact - a familiar and beloved game wrapped in the memory of childhood.
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