The Tyranny of Small Decisions

It's a blog on a board-gaming site. Pretty safe bet it'll be about board games then...

Archive for Blogging about Blogging

1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5  Next »  [7]

Recommend
120 
 Thumb up
4.15
 tip
 Hide

Don't shed a tear?

John Shepherd
United Kingdom
Ovington
Northumberland
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
Microbadge: bounceMicrobadge: bounceMicrobadge: bounceMicrobadge: bounceMicrobadge: BAAAAAAAA!
Board Game: Reykholt: Shed Promo Card


The Shed has gone. It’s barely been a week … but my favourite corner of BGG — the user blogs — already feels like a very different place. I mean, I still check in here each morning … to make sure that whatever auto-scheduled post I’d intended to appear that day did actually appear (not always a given!) and whether it’s picked up any thumbs yet … but the excitement of coming here as “reader”, rather than a “writer”, is definitely somewhat dulled.

Not — I hasten to add — because the other writers in the BGG blogosphere aren’t perfectly entertaining; there’s a handful that I follow daily, and it’s interesting to check in on their thoughts and musings. But if there was a reason why BGG was the very first web site that I opened up each and every day — a reason why I even discovered the subscription feature of BGG — then that reason would be: Every Man Needs a Shed. Joined, for a stretch of time, by It Beats Watching TV … two blogs with a gloriously-british-humoured perspective on board gaming, board gaming culture, and … well… just life in general, really.

And when things like this disappear… it’s a loss.

Because… to be frank…the board game media landscape of 2021 is — for the most part — a tide of un-opinionated, infomercial-grade, cookie-cutter sh*te, delivered by an endless parade of gurning wannabe-youtube-famous presenters with perma-smiles, interestingly-coloured hair, and nothing to really say. By comparison, there’s only a tiny proportion of un-filtered, critical, rough-around-the-edges and occasionally-but-forgivably-flawed commentary in this hobby … and THAT’S why I love(d) the shed. And also because… well… because it could be really bloody funny at times too. Many’s the morning that my day would be started with a shed-related LOL. Even in the barren times of 2020/2021 (take it from one who knows first-hand: it is far, FAR harder to produce this kind of thing daily than it used to be … I’ve definitely struggled) you could rely on something popping up at the shed to keep you amused over your breakfast toast.

And yeah, sometimes Tony went too far. I don’t think anybody was massively surprised when he got kicked off BGG for few weeks that time that The Shed featured a photograph of an erect penis wearing a Trump wig. And then some spectacularly-misjudged stubbornness over a meme doing the rounds of board game twitter last year spiralled into a situation that it should never, ever have become (I fear Mr B is still experiencing the mental health fall-out from that episode. Possibly way harder than his persecutors appreciate).

But this morning I realised that … for the first time in as long as I can remember … I hadn’t tuned into BGG as my first-website-of-the-day.

Why? Well… I guess I didn’t have a post-in-flight to go and tend to … and it wasn’t like there’d be a shed post to lure me in this morning.

Odd feeling, that.

Everybody needs a shed.

External image
Twitter Facebook
15 Comments
Sat Apr 10, 2021 2:05 pm
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
74 
 Thumb up
2.05
 tip
 Hide

Unfinished Business

John Shepherd
United Kingdom
Ovington
Northumberland
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
Microbadge: bounceMicrobadge: bounceMicrobadge: bounceMicrobadge: bounceMicrobadge: BAAAAAAAA!
Regular readers will be aware that I very rarely feature guest posts. (And, frankly, once you've seen what it is, you'll probably wish that I featured them even more rarely) ... but, apparently, as Mr Boydell was hammering the last couple of nails into the steel shuttering on the shed door, he remembered that he still had one or two pieces of business outstanding.

So, with that in mind, I present to you: shitgamerpun 118 -- the prize(?) piece in the 2021 Jack Vasel Memorial Fund auction. Congratulations Steve!

From gallery of MrShep

And in addition to this fine(?) piece of art, a small note regarding a new kickstarter from Paul "Mr Handycon" Harris. Having met (and played the wares of) the aforementioned Mr Harris, I am more than a little intrigued. Well worth a look, I think. Over to Tony...

Tony Boydell wrote:
Roll up! Roll up! Come one, come all and sup from the fizzy barrel of Scrumpy goodness from my pal Paul Harris:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/invinciblegames/scrumpy...


From gallery of tonyboydell


I wrote about it HERE; but don't just take MY word for it, have a listen to this thin bloke (50 minutes in):



It's really rather good, you know.
...well... this little lot saved me having to think up a proper blog topic for today, didn't it? Thanks Tony!

External image
Twitter Facebook
5 Comments
Wed Apr 7, 2021 2:31 pm
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
83 
 Thumb up
2.05
 tip
 Hide

A world without Shed

John Shepherd
United Kingdom
Ovington
Northumberland
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
Microbadge: bounceMicrobadge: bounceMicrobadge: bounceMicrobadge: bounceMicrobadge: BAAAAAAAA!
Bank holiday Monday. I couldn’t remember if we’d planned to do the usual monday-night-online-gaming sesh in face of the bank Holiday or not … but a quick check in with the chaps suggested that at least some of us had nothing better to do that evening. So that’s what we did.

First up: Snowdonia, with the somewhat-new-to-Yucata Daffodil line. Daffodils? Spring? … seemed vaguely appropriate

From gallery of MrShep


Fate was not on my side with this game. The white cubes tore through the board at breakneck speed … and frustratingly managed to snatch away the one-big-play-I’d-been-building-up-to at the very last second. That’s Snowdonia, I guess. And yes, that’s me placing 3 surveyors in the final round. And no, it wasn’t a mis-click -- that was pretty the only thing I had left in the bag to scrape a few extra points in arrived-all-too-quickly final reckoning. Still came last though.

Bah. Stupid game. Who suggested playing that one?

(Urm… oh yes. It was me. And of course I love it really )

Snowdonia was followed by a “first time we’ve tried this one online” play of Marrakech, as something light to round off the evening with.

From gallery of MrShep


Even without the tactile pleasures of tiny felt carpets to play with, this is a jolly enough version. Marrakech is a fun game. It does, by nature, kind of play on auto-pilot for 75% of the time … but the 25% that requires brain intervention … well… that’s enough to make it work. And you can’t help but feel a triumphant sense of glee when somebody moves onto a particularly high-scoring bit of your carpet, and the money flows in your direction. I enjoyed this.

…and it was over so quickly that (despite Board Game Arena’s very best attempts to crash) we managed to squeeze in a quick game of 6 Nimmt! before we bade our farewells. 6 Nimmt! with 3 players? Does that even work?

With the expert mode… (3 players = play with cards numbered 1 to 34) …. yeah, it sort of does. Way better than you might expect. I mean, perhaps not quite as well as it works with 4 players … but, no complaints here. It still managed to be satisfying in all the ways that 6 Nimmt! usually is. Good stuff

* * * * * * *


All in all, I had a good Easter for board gaming. In addition to the games mentioned above, I still have a few others to blog about, played face to face with Mrs Shep -- though I do try to shy away from making every day a post of “Today I played X, and it was nice”. Because… seriously… do people really want to read a blog that only says that kind of thing, day in and day out? I’m sure I wouldn’t.

Speaking of blogs which very much don’t do that kind of thing: it would appear that Tony Boydell quietly left his shed, and hung up his blogging trousers (for at least a while) over the weekend. With … to be fair… a mic dropped so softly and carefully (so as not to anger the moderators) that I’m not sure that many even people noticed. I’m sad to see the shed … the reading of which has been a regular fixture in my daily routine for way too many years now — and which has obviously been a big influence on my own path into blogging — go off-air.

I’ll probably write more on this when I’ve had time to reflect. I had a short chat with Tony this morning, and understand his reasons. Everything you need to know is in his last couple of posts. (And for sake of clarity: all his own choice, not a ban).

I normally end my posts with the little green sheep icon, asking you to click the like button. Instead, today, I’d urge you to go and read Tony’s last post, and amplify that one instead. Even if you normally skip the FLGS episodes (YOU FOOL!) ...it deserves it.
Twitter Facebook
7 Comments
Tue Apr 6, 2021 2:57 pm
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
69 
 Thumb up
2.05
 tip
 Hide

Aire Supply

John Shepherd
United Kingdom
Ovington
Northumberland
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
Microbadge: bounceMicrobadge: bounceMicrobadge: bounceMicrobadge: bounceMicrobadge: BAAAAAAAA!
From gallery of MrShep


If the world was as it should be, then this would be AireCon weekend. Of course, the world is very much not as it should be … and even the replacement play-at-home virtual event, AireCan’t, has been bumped back to April. However… exactly one year ago this very weekend was — as I’m now fond of saying — “the last time that I managed to play a face-to-face boardgame with anybody who I’m not married to”.

From gallery of MrShep
Some people that I'm not married to.

(Even more surprisingly — this weekend also marks exactly one year since the last time I visited a pub. This may not be entirely co-incidental)

I miss conventions. Not only because I miss the opportunity to get away from home for a long weekend, eat big hotel breakfasts, and spend most of my waking hours TOTALLY immersed in board-game culture. But also because… well… I can easily stretch a decent convention trip into a good week-or-so of daily blog posts, if I put my mind to it … so it’s a bit like giving my content-bereft brain a blog-inspiration holiday! And in the last year… I have totally missed having those periodic visits to deep-wells-of-stuff-to-write-about.

(as you might have noticed)

Anyway, looking back upon my successful milking of last year’s AireCon for sweet, sweet blog content, I happened upon the obligatory (small) haul shot:

From gallery of MrShep


…which set me reflecting upon just how well these particular purchases worked out (or didn't work out) in the year that followed.

So that, my friends, is what you’re getting today. One last wring of AireCon 2020 through the content-creation mangle. Just for old times sake!

Microbadge: BAAAAAAAA! Microbadge: BAAAAAAAA! Microbadge: BAAAAAAAA! Microbadge: BAAAAAAAA! Microbadge: BAAAAAAAA! Microbadge: BAAAAAAAA! Microbadge: BAAAAAAAA!


In no particular order...

Fafnir. I’m pretty sure I did play this with Mrs Shep at some point over the last year, but I don’t seem to have logged said play. Maybe because it’s really not a 2-player game. Well… it says it’s for 2-4 players on the box — but as soon as you dig in and discover the underpinning mechanisms (it’s a share dealing and market manipulation game, dressed up in a fluffy story about a group of brothers who own a magic gem-laying chicken), it becomes pretty obvious that it’s very much a 3+ player affair. I’m still really keen to play this one with the full count (almost keen enough to script it on Tabletop simulator — somebody has put a basic version on the TTS workshop, but I think it’ll need a little bit of scripting to make it work fairly); it seems like the kind of ultra-fast filler that’ll interest the Newcastle regulars... placing it firmly on the Shelf of Opportunity.

Age of Steam: Cuba. This turned out to be the focus of my first (of many … ongoing …) locked-down solo game plays. I did a write-up of that experience here. Good fun this; I should play it again. But not before I’ve played…

Age of Steam: Hawaiian Islands. I bought both of these maps from the Firestorm Cards stall, and while chatting to Jimmy (the owner), he mentioned that he’d never played either of these, because they’re solo maps. I pointed out that this was exactly why I was buying them -- because I had a feeling that it might be useful to have a few solo games on hand in the weeks* to come. (Yeah, yeah, prophet of doom, right?) Though, surprisingly, I haven’t actually got around to trying this one out over the course of the last 12 months. I dug it out of storage last night (inspired by this blog article) and flipped through the instructions, and it actually looks like a really interesting variant. It’s still spread out on the game table as I write; perhaps this weekend its moment has come?

Noch Mal!: One of the roll & write classics this one, and a big hit with Mrs Shep ...I think it maybe even got a couple of remote webcam plays with the wider family. In fact, Noch Mal! was going great guns right up until the fateful moment in July when we bought Noch Mal So Gut!, and realised that we’d probably never want to play the original version ever again. Oops

And finally: Welcome to… the Doomsday thematic neighbourhood. An out-and-out gallows-humour purchase this one; I mean… during that weekend in Harrogate, it started to seem a tiny bit like maybe it could be the beginning of the end of the world.

We haven’t played it yet. Maybe when this is all over.

External image

*weeks? ha!
Twitter Facebook
6 Comments
Sat Mar 13, 2021 7:10 am
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
110 
 Thumb up
22.30
 tip
 Hide

The medium and the message

John Shepherd
United Kingdom
Ovington
Northumberland
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
Microbadge: bounceMicrobadge: bounceMicrobadge: bounceMicrobadge: bounceMicrobadge: BAAAAAAAA!
There’s something interesting that I’ve noticed, ever since the great BGG front-page redesign took place. Something which has probably been the case for a long time, but didn’t really catch my attention. And it concerns this -- the “top 5” blogs listing:

From gallery of MrShep


Because unless you’re looking at the listing at the start of the week, shortly after Mike Minutillo puts up one of his kickstarter roundups … OR you’ve chanced upon a glorious moment when Steph has put out a new All the Meeples of the Rainbow post… OR you pick the ONE DAY IN A LIFETIME when Harbinger posts the 1,000th post on Everything that Sucks and some things that don’t (congratulations Harbinger!) …then there’s a pretty good chance that at least 4 out of the 5 posts which are listed there — sometimes all 5 of the posts listed there — will have been written by British authors.

Which seems a bit unusual, given the relative proportion of British BGG users to … well… pretty much every other nationality of BGG user.

But what does it mean?

Are we brits all, deep down, frustrated writers?

Or perhaps just a little bit stuck in the past?

(yeah, yeah, I know… generalisations are never healthy!)

...because another thing that I find odd about that front page, post-redesign, is those “Creator spotlights” which break up the content flow every screen or so. It’s not so much the idea of having creator spotlights on a site devoted to a hobby about board gaming … but more the way that those creator spotlights seem to be all about people who create videos about games, rather than celebrating people who … y’know… actually create the games in the first place?

In fact, this whole thing has now gone weirdly meta… BGGs latest in-house twitch show — The More Meeples the Merrier — seems to be an online show in which Timm Metivier will interview people about … making online shows about board games?

Maybe, before long, everybody will be so busy interviewing each other about their experience making content about board games, or their experiences making shows about people who make content about board games (or writing blog-based diatribes about the awfulness of content creators making content about content creator content creation) that it'll all become weirdly-circular and self-sustaining, and we’ll eventually reach a point where we're able to do away with that whole messy layer at the very bottom of the operation … i.e. having to play the board games in the first place. (I’m pretty sure that a whole bunch of content creators find that to be the most annoying and inconvenient part of the whole hobby anyway )

You know where the real value in BGG is? The database. The game rules. The assets. The game-specific forums.

Or, at least… that’s where the perceived value always used to be, for me at least. But I’m not at all sure that people like reading words as much as they used to. And to be honest, I’m not so sure that the current generation of board game players are as fussy about getting the rules right as they used to be either.

Buy it on Kickstarter. Learn it on YouTube. Watch your imaginary friends playing it on Twitch. And then sell it still-new-in-shrink on Instagram.

(I do still like writing though).

NOW GET OFF MY DAMN LAWN YOU PESKY KIDS…

External image
Twitter Facebook
17 Comments
Thu Jan 14, 2021 7:10 am
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
109 
 Thumb up
502
 tip
 Hide

No Escape

John Shepherd
United Kingdom
Ovington
Northumberland
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
Microbadge: bounceMicrobadge: bounceMicrobadge: bounceMicrobadge: bounceMicrobadge: BAAAAAAAA!
From gallery of MrShep

Finding this in my inbox yesterday morning really made me LOL. Thanks Tony


Microbadge: BAAAAAAAA! Microbadge: BAAAAAAAA! Microbadge: BAAAAAAAA! Microbadge: BAAAAAAAA! Microbadge: BAAAAAAAA! Microbadge: BAAAAAAAA! Microbadge: BAAAAAAAA!


They say that you can’t understand somebody until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes. Maybe you also can’t understand somebody until you’ve written 1000 blog posts?

Just a shade under 3 years ago, Mr Burnham wrote the 1000th post in his blog — It Beats Watching the TV. And then, the very next day, he surprised us all with an announcement that that was the end. Game over. He was done with daily blogging.

As a reader, I was really sad to see Stuart’s blog disappear … it left a bit of a void in my morning routine; Stuart (and Tony’s!) blogs were part of my mental boot-up process each day, and I couldn’t understand how somebody who seemed to be so good at blogging — who churned out post after post with such apparent ease, and had a whole community of followers and commenters — would just… stop.

But yeah.

I get it now.

Microbadge: BAAAAAAAA! Microbadge: BAAAAAAAA! Microbadge: BAAAAAAAA! Microbadge: BAAAAAAAA! Microbadge: BAAAAAAAA! Microbadge: BAAAAAAAA! Microbadge: BAAAAAAAA!


Nah, I’m not going to stop (I mean… I’ve got a three-quarters-completed Kingdom Death Campaign to finish before I can even think of that!). But entering the 1000-club is maybe as good a point as any to look back, reflect a bit, plan what comes next, and perhaps make a few changes.

I don’t think it’s a big secret that coming up with stuff to write about each day — particularly under present circumstances (fewer games incoming, less playing of new things, no conventions, no games club, no travelling, etc… not to mention the increased mental health burdens we find ourselves operating under!) — is way harder than it used to be. Not just for me — for everybody in the daily blogging game. I know that many of my readers don’t really mind what kind of nonsense I churn out each day (and I completely get that; I fast forward thorough some of the less-good posts on blogs that I follow too!) …but a big part of my personal satisfaction in this project is enjoying the act of writing, and knowing that I’m producing something that’s worth looking at. Forcing myself to write something just for the sake of filing an entry every day is less fun. More like a job. (A job that somebody else gets the revenue for, just to add insult to injury!). So to keep this sustainable, I might be a bit kinder to myself in terms of skip-days from this point forward.

Look, you all already know about my awful taste in late-80s-early-90s-british-indie-skateboard music right? The bridge on this one has been echoing around my head a fair bit lately:



”Say what you like you know that no-one really minds
But if there’s nothing to say then why don’t we all go away?”


But yeah… I remember saying something similar after completing my first year-long streak of continuous blogging. Then I took a single day off, and promptly went straight back into churning stuff out day after day after day again.

So who knows. I guess we’ll just have to see what happens next

Whatever. The Tyranny of Small Decisions will continue, in some shape or form.

Thanks for sticking with it so far!

External image
Twitter Facebook
10 Comments
Fri Nov 27, 2020 8:13 am
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
166 
 Thumb up
1059
 tip
 Hide

1000?

John Shepherd
United Kingdom
Ovington
Northumberland
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
Microbadge: bounceMicrobadge: bounceMicrobadge: bounceMicrobadge: bounceMicrobadge: BAAAAAAAA!
From gallery of MrShep


Blimey.
Twitter Facebook
20 Comments
Thu Nov 26, 2020 6:10 am
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
202 
 Thumb up
2.87
 tip
 Hide

How to have a front-page blog post.

John Shepherd
United Kingdom
Ovington
Northumberland
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
Microbadge: bounceMicrobadge: bounceMicrobadge: bounceMicrobadge: bounceMicrobadge: BAAAAAAAA!
From gallery of MrShep


I got the most thumbs that I’ve ever had on one of my blog posts this week. Which was nice.

But, sadly, I think a large part of those thumbs have more to do with the recent changes to BGG's front page, rather than my blogging skills. I mean… it was a pretty good post and all that. But... well... let me explain...

From gallery of MrShep


I’ve noticed this happen on a few of my posts recently. Usually, when I post something, it’ll get about 50 thumbs or so in the first day — mostly thanks to the legions of really nice people who come along and read my stuff daily, and very kindly give it a thumb to spur me on (thanks to all of you who do that; it’s very much appreciated!). And then, over the next week or so, I’ll get a steady trickle of follow-up thumbs, which will slowly knock the total up a little bit further. I guess that’s maybe from people who don’t log into BGG every day, but who still drop into my posts via a subscription, or my tagging of specific games that they’re interested in, or stuff like that.

And in the old days… that would be that, and thumbs would kind of trail off and fizzle out, after a short while.

But now. Now things are different…

From gallery of MrShep


…there’s often this second frenzy of activity. A frenzy which normally kicks in at around the 70-to-80 thumb mark, in which the number of thumbs suddenly starts accelerating again. Because this is the point where your post gets picked up by the algorithm that populates the hottest 5 posts on the new BGG front page … and triggers a weird popularity feedback loop.

The most popular things get shown to more people … and therefore become even more popular. Which is, maybe, a good idea in some ways.

But a bad idea in others.

Firstly… the algorithm currently being used means that only one post per user will be featured in this list. The item that appears will be your most-thumbed post from the last 7 days.

Which is good in principle. But also means that if I write a decent post on Monday, which attracts a whole bunch of thumbs, and goes into one of these feedback loops, then that post will go on the front page and stay there for the best part of a week. But if I then write an equally good (or better!) post on Tuesday … that one won’t appear on the front page, and won’t get that feedback loop effect.

This can make for some really odd situations … like, last week, I did a really quick, cheap-and-nasty post where I essentially said “I’ve got a copy of Faiyum, I’ll tell you all about it soon, but here’s a picture to tide you over” … and THAT post hit the front page, and started accumulating masses of thumbs. Somewhat ironically, this blocked my actual coverage of the game (which I’d spent an awful lot more time writing) from appearing there at all. It was only after I’d performed some further shenanigans — to deliberately steer readers from the less-good article to the better article — that it finally got its moment in the spotlight.

And secondly… this effect is completely burying contributions from new bloggers. Obtaining the critical mass necessary to get front-page exposure for your posts is likely going to be harder than ever.

But hey… I’ve been doing this BGG blogging malarky for far too long now; I’m not massively bothered if my stuff falls from visibility — it’ll make it way easier to sneak off and start some new project while nobody is looking. But for those brave souls who are just setting out on this journey … those who are still interested in scraping their way from the gutter to the front page… I humbly present:

MrShep’s top tips for grabbing enough thumbs to hit the feedback loop tipping point:

(1) Tag wingspan in your posts.

But only do that if you’re going to say something nice about the game. Wingspan has one of the most devoted sets of fans of any game on BGG. If you say something positive about Wingspan, you will be showered in thumbs. If you say something neutral about the game, you will still be showered in thumbs. If you just take a photograph of a bunch of random s***e that you found in your kitchen that morning because you couldn’t be arsed to write a proper blog that day, but still somehow managed to give it a Wingspan theme… ; YOU WILL GET THUMBS. Wingspan is the game that keeps giving. (If by giving, you mean GIVING YOU THUMBS!)

(But, if you’re ever going to say something BAD about wingspan, DO NOT TAG WINGSPAN. Or pop your blinkers on and don’t read any comments posted to your blog for the next week or so. The Wingspan fans give generously, but the Wingspan fans can also take away!)

(2) Already done too much Wingspan tagging this month? No problem! Post a picture of a cat instead. Preferably in (or near) a game box. Sadly, Molly Stinker Pestface Shepherd the First is no longer with us, so I’ve not had a good opportunity to do this for a while.


From gallery of MrShep

R.I.P Molly Stinker Pestface Shepherd the First. You are missed.


I even remember one time … a time spoken of in hushed tones amongst the BBG blogging community … when up-and-coming BGG blogger CarolineBlack (aka The Dyslexic Gamer) went FULL-ON MAVERICK, and posted not only a cat-box picture… but also TAGGED WINGSPAN IN THE VERY SAME POST! Crazy times. We all thought she’d lost it — no WAY anybody could surf the popularity wave from a post like THAT! But the thumbs just rolled on in… keep your eye on The Dyslexic Gamer; I’m predicting great things for that one.

(3) Remind people to subscribe. And to thumb. I mean, it’s cheap, and it’s cheesy, and I cringe every time I do it … but sadly … it totally works. A few days back I put in a reminder to “subscribe to this blog if you want to see the follow-up to this post”, and gained TWENTY new subscribers within 24 hours. You know how long it had taken me to get the 20 subscribers prior to that? … WEEKS! That’s how long. Maybe it’s something to do with the fact that It’s not immediately obvious to folks that you can subscribe to an individual BGG blog and be notified whenever a new post appears. But I bet there’s at least one person has just read that last sentence, and thought: “Hey — you can subscribe to a blog? … I should totally do that!”

(4) Be Tony Boydell. Tony Boydell is a GIANT amongst BGG bloggers. A thumb-pulling, content-generating, lego-building, super-sweary TITAN of a blogger. But sadly, only one person is allowed to be Tony Boydell at a time. And Tony Boydell is currently busy being him.

(5) Post a big long list of upcoming kickstarters, and tag each and every last one of them. Seriously, the kids go apes**t for that stuff! Just don’t forget to stress how amazingly excited about EACH and EVERY item on that list you are. Because remember: every nice thing you say about a kickstarter turns a tiny mote of buyers remorse into a thumb-shaped vote of all-important support for YOUR post!

(6) Never, EVER start an ongoing Kingdom Death Monster campaign where you humorously(?) inject the regular followers of your blog into starring roles of an ongoing series of narrative posts. Because every time you post an instalment, your thumbs will drop, and you'll lose at least one subscription. (But don’t worry KDM Diary Fans… Episode 58 is coming up any day now. Just as soon as those 20 new subscribers have been on board long enough to not scare away too easily…)

(7) Don’t bite the hand that feeds you. Not ever. Urrrm…

External image
Twitter Facebook
26 Comments
Sat Nov 21, 2020 11:35 am
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
90 
 Thumb up
1.40
 tip
 Hide

Fifteen minutes of Faiyum

John Shepherd
United Kingdom
Ovington
Northumberland
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
Microbadge: bounceMicrobadge: bounceMicrobadge: bounceMicrobadge: bounceMicrobadge: BAAAAAAAA!
Being an “influencer”.

That’s a funny old thing, isn’t it?

My last couple of posts about Faiyum seem to have attracted a higher-than usual proportion of “thanks for this recommendation, I’m totally buying this now!” type responses. Which is good, from the point of view that it’s gratifying to know that people actually trust what I write about games (and that people are even reading my stuff in the first place!) … but also fills me with a small amount of dread and not-insignificant sense of responsibility. A little voice, deep within, starts whispering… “Hey… wait a minute… I’ve only played the solo version of this game, and posted some excited first impressions of it. Did I massively oversell it?… and what if the multi-player version really sucks by comparison?”

Because you never know — never know for sure — exactly how a game is really going to play out against other humans until you sit down and play it. I mean, you can sometimes speculate… make a pretty good educated guess, just from reading the rules, or by playing through the solo version. But I’m convinced that — no matter how much some commentators might say “yeah, yeah… I knew exactly how that game would be just from reading the rule book” — that there are always subtleties and nuances to games that will pass you by. Elements that you simply won't get. Not until you actually sit down and play it for real.

Anyway… I finally got to play Faiyum against a human being yesterday afternoon. A two player game: Me vs Mrs Shep.

And you know what?…

From gallery of MrShep


Well…

…I totally called this one right. It turned out to be pretty good stuff after all.

'Phew.

Microbadge: BAAAAAAAA! Microbadge: BAAAAAAAA! Microbadge: BAAAAAAAA! Microbadge: BAAAAAAAA! Microbadge: BAAAAAAAA! Microbadge: BAAAAAAAA! Microbadge: BAAAAAAAA!


(If you missed my previous posts on Faiyum ... it would probably be best to go and read this one first, since I describe the core elements of the game there.)

Two player Faiyum is — as anticipated — a rather interactive affair … with lots of blocking and contention around critical positions, and much to think about in terms of timing, and the taking back of cards. Cards which seemed like a bit of a boon in solo mode suddenly become way more tricky to pull off when an opponent is actively blocking your efforts… and cards which allow the bulk movement/relocation of workers (such as migrant farmers, or religious novices) take on a whole new level of importance in clearing out critical placement spaces to bring your plans into effect. Strong cards become weak… weak cards become strong. Interesting!

The timing thing becomes particularly important as you approach the end-game, and you can see a whole bunch of strategy-critical scoring cards lining up on the far end of the conveyor belt. We did find that the game clogged up a bit here — with neither of us wanting to give our opponent the first crack at buying the good stuff — but that’ll likely just be a symptom of our unfamiliarity with the pacing of the game, rather than a design flaw. Or maybe a bit like that critical moment when you move from the age of canals to the age of steam in Brass.

Anyway… I grabbed hold of a quarry card quite early in the game, and set about building pits all over the bottom corner of the map … heaving up stone which comboed very nicely with monument construction, providing a steady stream of reputation points (with some rose trading ticking away on the side as a secondary machine). Meanwhile Mrs Shep embarked upon a very different route — a life of crime! …playing her “crook” card to repeatedly send a worker into settlements and trade reputation points for money (nice theming) — the proceeds of which allowed her to build the necessary infrastructure to power the “banquet” card (send a worker to a monument site with a heap of food, and get reputation points in return) … and building out the road network to try to gain points from the Escort card (which awards various degrees of reputation for parading the Pharoah’s guard — i.e. a worker — through a number of connected settlements).

By the end of the game I was inviting the pharaoh over to gaze upon the giant pyramids that I’d built, and constructing a giant golden palace … while Mrs Shep elevated her banqueting ambitions by repeatedly rinsing the “harvest festival” card for reputation, using up her spare food supplies. I ended up winning …by quite a margin, truth be told, but that’s maybe because I was a little bit more clued up about the progression of the end-game than Mrs S. was (and some of the other routes through which she might have gained points from her surfeit of comestibles — such as donating it to mummy burials — were blocked off due to worker congestion at the monument sites). I’m sure it’ll be a closer-run thing next time.

And yeah… I think there’ll be a next time. Despite the game running to 2.5 hours, and Mrs Shep not being a massive fan of longer games, there’s been a fair bit of discussion about “what I’d do next time is…” since we finished playing.

Good game, this one. Definitely amongst the best 2020 releases that I’ve played

External image
Twitter Facebook
9 Comments
Mon Nov 16, 2020 7:10 am
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
61 
 Thumb up
0.05
 tip
 Hide

Double-whoosh.

John Shepherd
United Kingdom
Ovington
Northumberland
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
Microbadge: bounceMicrobadge: bounceMicrobadge: bounceMicrobadge: bounceMicrobadge: BAAAAAAAA!
Well, there goes another one. Another month passed, in this weird half-life existence of 2020. I expect it’ll only be a few short days before the next one is over and I’ll be writing another monthly round-up, they all seem to go by so fast these days.

But since I’m already a day late on talking about September, I’d better crack on with it…

So:

September’s gaming mostly comprised: finishing our My City campaign (8 plays), an unexpected burst of Keltis Das Kartenspiel (5 plays), a few outings for Caverna Cave vs Cave Era II (3 plays), and one or two other odds and sods. At least one of which I really shouldn’t be playing yet, and which I feel a little bit guilty about …but I expect I’ll be blogging about that in a day or two.

In summary: another fairly light month of games with Mrs S, and the end of our My City adventure. It’s already looking like My City will turn out to be my game of the year … though perhaps slightly by default, because several new-to-me-but-somewhat-heavy games (like the Jordan Draper titles that I seem to have picked up during the year) have, sadly, gone straight onto the shelf-of-opportunity for when things get better.

At least we got a holiday, of sorts, this month. Which was nice. But now, back at home… we’re in a “local restrictions” lockdown zone. The long and short of which is: no mingling allowed with other households, indoors, under any circumstances. The pictures I see on other people’s blogs of people managing to attend games clubs and hold gaming sessions now seem, alas, further away than ever

September Soundtrack:

A VERY odd mixture in September, starting with a post discussing the must-have sartorial accessories of the age.



…and the world’s greatest digital snake wrangler.



There was a post about reaching the end of a civilisation-building campaign. (And let’s face it, we’ve all whistled this one at some point in the last 6 months).



A post about the sad fate of brave, brave, brave, brave Sir Robin…



A post quoting the only song that I could think of containing the word “Interstate”.


(His real name was Eskew Reeder)

And a post about dead ships prompted some Swedish electro-industrial trance-pop. Because I haven’t posted anywhere near enough Swedish electro-industrial trance-pop on the blog to date.



And if that wasn’t gothy enough for you, just be sure…

I wanted (Glen) More.


I’ll get my coat.

External image
Twitter Facebook
0 Comments
Fri Oct 2, 2020 7:10 am
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls

1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5  Next »  [7]