Ziggy needed a walk and, because there's only so much of him staring mournfully in to your soul one can stand, I took him for one. Across the busy main road and off towards Oxenhall and the remains of a railway where (last time) Arthur and I found a large, rusted iron 'pin' of some description.
Ziggy the dog is no use when it comes to 'geophysics' as a stick and a metal bar are equal currency and both pale in interest next to fresh fox-shit or a tree where a squirrel has been within the last 7 days!
Walking along the track bed towards the old Newent station site - a route I'd not discovered before - there was much earth-working in progress (but not today); if I were a car boot seller I could make a few quids selling all of the shovels and pick axes that were strewn about the place. I thought a good workman always looked after his tool?!
Large, gridded fencing barred my way in to the platform area itself but there was just enough room for Ziggy to squeeze under and have a good nose-sniffy around. Neither did he retrieve a comically over-large bone nor did he happen upon some children stuck down a well; indeed, he left a little extra "mud" of his own behind instead.
Home for some chai tea and the pleasing sight of 9127 steps racked up in the Fitbit: steady, hearty exercise for both man and dog.
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 Trains
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In 1877 an Act of Parliament authorised construction of the Lewes and East Grinstead Railway (L&EGR), now known as the Bluebell Railway. My dear pal Peter was working on this as a Snowdonia scenario up until his death - far too young - last year; indeed, our final messaging session (a month before) covered his progress. Nothing will erase the deep sadness I felt when his 5 year old daughter stepped up to his coffin to say her final farewell but, hopefully, this will be my tribute to him. So, today, I'm running a sort of stream of consciousness exercise where I cut and paste various snippets of history, gossip and curiosity in and around The Bluebell Railway; you can see how I go about connecting the theme to the mechanics - first, I start with the stations:
1. East Grinstead (Low Level) - it was built/rebuilt a couple of times in the first years of the BBR operation, so I'd like to reflect that in the gameplay.
2. (Hill Place Viaduct) - I love a good viaduct, so re-using the viaduct scoring from the Wye Valley Tourer would be perfect; in fact, if I treat BBR and WVT as a scenario pair, one could be on the back of the other.
3. Kingscote - this was a posh station by all accounts: the lavish main station building was designed as a two-storey villa with a T-shaped footprint, with a single storey wing each side: booking office and toilets to the north; waiting room and storage to the south. All of this structure was fronted both sides by a timber-supported hipped canopy, which like all of the other buildings carried a hipped slate roof. The station had substantial sidings and a livestock loading dock located just to the north of No.1 platform. The downside No.2 platform was connected to the main buildings by a 50 feet (15 m) glazed footbridge, and had a similar timber-supported canopy which fronted a wooden waiting room. Need some lucrative building spots, I think, to tempt the more creative Snowdonian navvy.
4. West Hoathly (above) – had the same station set-up as Kingscote, apparently, so this is a perfect candidate for a 4-5 player 'extra' with the same lucrative stats as it's twin.
(Sharpthorne Tunnel) - use a tunnel card or two from the WVT; there is a rumour of the tunnel being haunted.
5. Horsted Keynes - a vanilla station with nothing surprising.
6. (Fletching and) Sheffield Park - built for one of the railway's big-wigs, the Park played host to 9 professional cricket fixtures including several encounters with the visiting Australian team! This is an absolute MUST for the scenario's "twist" - more later!
7. Newick and Chailey – A legal loophole forced British Rail to run a meagre service to this station even though the rest of the line was being closed down in the 1960s; it was called "The Sulky Service" but this happens way too late in the line's history to be of use in the scenario. Ah, well.
(Cinder Hill Tunnel) - use a tunnel card or two from the WVT.
8. New Barcombe – another vanilla station.
9. Lewes -
a disappointingly ordinary end to the Line. This displeases me immensely!Edit: see below - there is some AWESOME history for Lewes!
Anyway, anti-climax aside, the quick pass above yields several potential new mechanisms/tweaks:
The double-building of East Grinstead (Lower Level)
It would be quite fun to have station card that flips (via the first Station Build Event) and keeps player markers from before but presents new spaces to build on afterwards ie. 'side 1' spaces would all be worth the same VPs and there'd be a holding space on 'side 2' to transfer them to.
The Sharpthorne Tunnel Ghost
Maybe I could get a phantom third worker to make an appearance during the building of the tunnel(s)? To be honest, pretty much EVERY bloody railway tunnel is supposed to be haunted though.
The Sheffield Park Cricket Matches
The first match played was Lord Sheffield's XI vs Alfred Shaw’s XI in 1881; it would be great to find a way of using players' workers as cricket players in a sort of 'Practice' match triggered by an Event. A later event could be the 'proper' match vs the Australians (1896). I'll have to go off and think about this but maybe a couple of extra action cards to allocate workers to in a co-operative (vs game AI) side-game?
Edit: (after being corrected for my ignorance in the comments)Quote:More than enough to be going on with, I think.
Wow! Wikipedia neglected to mention this rich vein of history and mental Englishness!
“Bonfire night in Lewes hosts seven bonfire societies from nearby towns and villages”: could have 6 versions of Lewes station on three double-sided cards with a different bonfire society on each side and a different setup of station spaces and bonuses? The HQs and the Churches (where they have one) could be two of the building spaces plus points if your Surveyor makes it to Lewes to take part in the bonfire (paying ‘coal’ to enter the space)?!
Cliffe (founded in 1853 - HQ is Dorset Arms, Church is St Thomas a Becket's; colours are black and white hoops – Vikings and Moors)
Commercial Square (founded in 1855 - HQ is Elephant & Castle pub, Church is St John sub Castro; colours are gold and black hoops – Native Americans and Civil War soldiers)
Lewes Bonfire Society (founded in 1853 – HQ is St Mary’s Social Club, Church is St Anne’s; colour are blue and white hoops – Zulus and Tudors)
Southover (HQ is The King’s Head, Church is St John the Baptist’s; colours are red and black hoops – Monks and Buccaneers)
South Street (founded 1913- HQ is The Snowdrop; colours are brown and cream hoops – Colonial period and English Civil War soldiers)
Waterloo (HQ is The Lamb Inn; colours are red and white hoops – Mongols, Ancient Greeks and Romans)
Nevill Juvenile (founded 1967)A bit too recent for our line’s story!
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Tucked up safe and warm in the toasty comfort of Room 4 (or "The Boydell Suite" as it is now known) of my Llandudno digs, I can hear the storm howling outside and I am glad. For the third week running I have been able to avail myself of the generous company of The Snowdonia Dragons and later, as the wind whips along the back alleys pressed up against the mighty Orme, repair to my laptop for the write-up. I couldn't just make a nest of the many pillows and drop off immediately; no, indeed, I must empty my head of the day's events first.
To start, I'd prepared the way (via the BGG Guild) for a play test of my Snowdonia:Wye Valley Tourer expansion which, originally, started life as 'the B side' to a smaller Darjeeling and Himalaya scenario. The Wye Valley Tourer adds tunnels (co-opted by the recent 1881 Channel Tunnel), a couple of lucrative-the-more-you-build 'bridge' cards and the drinking of tea. With a postcard of 'bonuses', you send your Surveyor up and down the valley in search of delightful tourist spots in which to sup a brew - provided it's not raining - which, in turn, allows you to 'tick off' your postcard in return for points and/or bonus resources or actions.
It was a slow start with quite a lot of rain (ie. almost ALL rain) that cleared up in to a scorching Summer; the four of us drifted off along different paths (Sarah: a bit of everything including a tie for the most tunnel sections, Me: failing to complete my contract cards but clearing my Postcard, Ed: Track and Tea and Bernie: the Tunnel and Track King). We were done in 90 mins and, for a play-test, I thought it went excellently; the three 'new bits' worked smoothly, it's now down to a re-scanning of the contract cards to sort out a couple of minor inconsistencies! The aim is to have it ready for the forthcoming 3rd Edition Kickstarter campaign (Summer, I believe) along with a little tribute to my pal Peter: "The Bluebell Line".
The table in the opposite corner had finished it's Altiplano shenanigans, so we were able to mix things up a bit; in the end we seemed to have only swapped Ed for Aaron, so it was back to our table for a daft WP-ish filler from the makers of the excellent The King of Frontier:
Little Town: King of Frontier 2?!
In summary: place a worker on the board in a free space and then gain resources from the 8 spaces around you OR spend resources to build and place a building. As the game progresses those 8 spaces will cover your buildings and those of other players; in the latter case you must pay the owner $1 to use that building's effect. Buildings are worth points, conversion of resources into points can be done on buildings, secret goals can be attained in-game for points and money is also VPs (3:1). You play four rounds, feeding your workers fish/grain at the end of each one, and then you see who has the most points.
Quick and fun, this is another daft gem from the East; I'm not sure I'd pay 60 euros + postage for it, but it was a hoot nonetheless.
Plenty of time to go yet, so one went up to one's elbows in Bernie's bag to tug out a couple of trinkets; firstly, something with quite a good rep from all I've heard and read:
In summary: Play cards from your hand to your tableau OR to a central 'Capital' that matches the suit (there are four). If you play to a capital, you gain a bonus of some kind (a gold, a card draw, a secret modifier or a low card from a capital); if you play to your tableau, you're setting up majority scoring at the end of each of the three rounds AND your final total too. The trick is to avoid the total value of cards in a suit in your tableau exceeding the total value of cards played to the matching capital in the middle of the table: if you do, you might be in line for scoring bonuses, if you don't you lose all of your collected cards in that suit!
A clever little decision brewer, I thought it would go down well 'at home' so I offered to buy it from Bernie (who had previously mentioned he wasn't likely to play it with 'just two'); he paused for a moment and then simply handed it to me as a gift - how utterly wonderful, how stupendously civilised!
I repaid this fulsome generosity by crushing him at our final game: DragonFlame...
While the others were fighting over chests and 'hard VP' treasures, my Wyvern burned up a series of villages and amassed a collection of unique statuary for a comfortable victory; not even a vindictively-donated -3 point Knight from Sarah could dent my Smaugian triumph.
Next week I shall be training folk in Merthyr Tydfil and my Wintry sojourn of gaming luxury will come to an end. I'll be back in the Spring, though, which is something very much to look forward to!
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Inspired by my Friday messin' about, I present - for your Snowdonian delectation - the following:
Cost: Remove your 3rd worker from the game(the march of progress, eh?)
i) When resolving a Stock Yard action, you may use your worker to take all iron ore above the 5th and all stone above the 3rd and all coal above the 2nd in to your supply; if you do, this replaces the normal Stock Yard action.
This ability is not modified by contract card effects (as it replaces the core Stock Yard action).
ii) You may take the Foundry/Works action ([C]) without placing a worker (resolve it after all other players have resolved their [C] actions).
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It's approaching the cusp of one-month-in-to-another which means Auction time in the sleepy Forest of Dean town of Newent. As if the Charity shops weren't burgeoning enough with Tony-attracting goodness, the converted Chapel down Culver Street seemed to house the for sale collection of an avid Ferroequinologist: there was bits of model railways everywhere!
I take the working-from-home opportunity to bid online on such occasions but I forgot to set an alarm on the Auction Rooms website and, consequently, missed a tasty set of Hornby Dublo (in original packaging too); however, I did snag a box of 'clockwork miscellany':
The sun had come out around lunchtime (Sunday) so I got us in the railway mood by taking Arthur plus Ziggy the Dog down to the old canal / former Daffodil Line remnants:
I found a great lump of iron on the track bed path though only a tiny fringe was sticking out of the mud (see above); I think it's a fastener of some kind - any one else know?
When we got back, we were enthused enough to have a play with the (above) box of tin things:And here it is in action:
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It's December, so:Marty "TIRED" Malone(maloma)United States
TexasBe the Change
is running his annual Snowdonia solo challenge ie. who can score the highest given a specific starting condition.
It runs from Today to the 31st and peeps are encouraged to play, post photos and write up their experiences (good and bad). I like to throw in some prizes too, as it's so rewarding seeing such direct love for my little board game!
This year the scenario is...NO TRAIN ie. who can score the highest with just two labourers per Round? If you're interested in taking part then here's the place to go:
Good luck and happy steaming!
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21 Nov 2017
Follow me as I unbox and, then, try to make sense of my newest train game acquisition!
Part 1:Spoiler (click to reveal)
Part 2:Spoiler (click to reveal)
Part 3:Spoiler (click to reveal)
(apologies for the orientation; I remain befuddled by modern technology)
"Phew!" is all I can say, frankly; I'm not convinced this 18XX lark is really for me. I'm glad I tried it, though - better to have tried and failed than never to have tried at all etc.
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Ever since I was a young lad - ie. about six years ago when I fell head-over-heels in love with trains and railways while working on Snowdonia - I've wanted to have my own proper train set; you know, one that has 20 actual miles of track and hundreds of pieces of rolling stock and wagons and those spongy miniature bushes and a tiny village cricket match going on somewhere? I used to work with a chap in Cheltenham (many years ago) who claimed to have an entire attic space at his parents' house filled from wall to wall with an elaborate network built throughout his childhood; it had trap doors to get to the remote corners and made the lights in the rest of the house dim when he had everything a-trundlin'!
At the weekend, the lucky charm that is Arthur caused the eye-spying of a still-in-shrink copy of Dawn Under for just £5 AND this little, in-its-original-box treasure:
For a derisory £15, the kindly old lady at the Charity Shop PoS even put it in a sturdy plastic bag for me. I couldn't wait to get this beauty home (the Train Set not the old lady):
It's ALL there; it may even be 'unplayed with' as a tiny Brake Van detail was still on it's tiny sprue!
It will need a couple of robust 996 batteries to get the engine chuffing; talking of which, let's take a close look:
And the icing on the cake was the intact Catalogue: a full-colour, appetite-whetting world of possibilities:
I suppose the next step is to source some MDF or, perhaps, a sturdy table, upon which to build (and store) this first configuration; I'd better leave plenty of room for expansion because, I fear, this shall not be the end of the matter.
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