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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Pocket Money

Anthony Boydell
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Newent. Glos
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Another day, another daft idea for a Museum gift shop product:
From gallery of tonyboydell

From gallery of tonyboydell

Quote:
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Fri Jul 1, 2022 9:20 am
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Tinned Tomatos

Anthony Boydell
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With a complete lack of responses to my Museum Gaming post, I unlocked the Unit with mild trepidation of a 'no show' and an early bath. I had a few jobs about the place to keep me occupied: stocking up the gift shop with some family-friendly, YAY Games goodies - Ominoes, Sandcastles and my co-design The Gruffalo:Games from the Deep, Dark Wood. I'd chatted with Andrew Harman, at the UKGE, and he'd informed me that royalties were due on 'The Gruff' as there'd been quite the pre-Christmas run on sales...as it turned out - when the Statement plopped into my Inbox - over 8,500 copies! That's more than the entirety of the EN edition of Guilds of London, you know?! Christmas time was also pretty good for Race The Rails and I am patiently waiting for the 2nd printing for the shop too.

All my worrying was for naught, however, as Gary and then Dave and Joe and Paul and Tom and Sandra trotted in - one at a time like the Dwarves at Bag End - all keen for some dobber-shovin' goodness. Dave taught Tinners' Trail to the Henlys, leaving the others to join me for vanilla Snowdonia:
From gallery of tonyboydell

The weather was mostly benign as the three new work parties explored the timing and placement subtleties of my magnum opus: Joe seemed to grok the flow pretty quick but failed to heed my initial 'teach' advice of "Get Contract Cards: you can't win the game without them!" - all of his good work couldn't be converted into end game bonuses. Sandra and Gary, on the other hand, duked it out for second place with a trio of completed cards each and just the single point between them. During the packing away, I showed some of the other scenarios and there were murmurs of 'future play' interest forthcoming.

There was one more round of Cornish diggery still to go, so I continued the railway theme with Mini Express: the gloriously uncomplicated rules belying it's nasty, crunchy nature:
From gallery of tonyboydell

The first game - with the Snowndonians - was pretty cagey, though much enjoyed; the second, with me and the Henlys, was even cagier - avoiding share purchases and bleeding the train stocks down to nothing. Tom and I were neck-and-neck for WOOD influence and kept trying to sneak extra bumps with the smallest possible route builds; in the end, however, my spread of high-value IRON and WOOD, regardless of '1st', sailed me off the end of the score track for 61 points. If only I had a copy of my United Kingdom map* as we really should play this fabulous filler more!

As the second game of Mini-Express started, the others were settling in to another Dave teach - this time Reykholt:
From gallery of tonyboydell

Young Joe played a blinder to finish two tables ahead of the others!

This would take them to the finish; meanwhile, after Tom had to go, Paul and I rounded off this most excellent evening with some historical warfare:

Though both rusty in the ways of this small-box big game, we were soon niggling and bluffing. I had it all my own way until the final (fifth) round, though: winning each Battle and always close to controlling all three regions. However, in the final round Paul moved some troops into the North - my bastion - and set himself up for a TOTAL WIN if he could beat me in the last Battle! I almost snatched my defeat from the jaws of victory - not even Paul equaling my triple 5s could stave off my assault entirely: a close and thrilling denouement!

*see Paul Grogan's teach/play-through here: https://youtu.be/VCIrlbblzVI
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Thu Jun 30, 2022 10:30 am
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Chariots ON Fire?!

Anthony Boydell
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Newent. Glos
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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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The first dibs are the best dibs.

Anthony Boydell
United Kingdom
Newent. Glos
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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: Pun microbadges are the wurst!
I was made an offer I couldn't refuse when gaming pal Giles sent me a preview list of a recently-acquired game collection. A first 'skim' alerted me to a number of desirable bits to add to the Museum's exhibitry which I sent back tagged as 'Interested'. There followed a further 'special stuff' menu...
From gallery of tonyboydell

...which had me pulling out the abacus and doing the finance sums: they weren't cheap but, for the Museum, they were an unmissable opportunity:
From gallery of tonyboydell

My Doctor.

From gallery of tonyboydell

Good Lord! 2nd edition (A)D&D Goodness!

From gallery of tonyboydell

Spicy!

From gallery of tonyboydell

Aa-and the rest.

Giles was generous enough to apply a 'donation' discount to the whole consignment and the deal was done. The main problem I now have is one of display space: does anyone have any IKEA glass cabinets they'd be willing to donate? RADSTA are best...
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Fri Jun 24, 2022 6:10 am
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Hey, Joe; where you goin' with that flint axe in your hand?

Anthony Boydell
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Newent. Glos
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Feeling the nerves numbing in my backside, it was imperative that I get out for a bit and get the blood flowing into my legs: the middle-of-the-night terrors get you sometimes and, recently, being tied to a wing back armchair for 8 hours a day has brought flashed 2AM images of Deep Vein Thrombosis while arguing the toss over ServiceBus availability %-ages! So, with a firm - but gentle - slam of the laptop to 'Closed', off we trekked into the heat-haze of a Wednesday PM:
From gallery of tonyboydell

From gallery of tonyboydell

Mown grass drying to scented hay

From gallery of tonyboydell

From gallery of tonyboydell
r
The 'Works' site for the Newent station / canal restoration has upped-sticks and disappeared, leaving behind an old railway bridge; all the metal fencing - and the Portakabin - disappeared.
From gallery of tonyboydell

Freely-accessible once more: time to dig out a trowel and go sifting for souvenirs?!


A short burst of last-minute messaging alerted me to a couple of new attendees at the Museum this week: Sandra and, eldest lad, Joe. With mutual gamer pals, they're not unfamiliar with the modern oeuvre; Joe is also a keen roleplayer and keen to find a D&D group locally too - fortunately, I already have a couple of peeps on a form of 'waiting list' so a spin-off meetup could be coming soon! For this evening, though, the two tables were fully occupied: Paul, Tom, Dave and Gary spending the whole time putting Viticulture World: Cooperative Expansion through its paces (and having a rollercoaster time of it, from the feedback) while Sandra, Joe, Richard and I whistled through a triple helping of friendly goodness:
From gallery of tonyboydell

Cubist is a straightforward, tactile treat and the perfect way to open a welcome session: roll dice and use the pips to build up 3D shapes to match - and claim - the point-scoring blueprints. No fuss and no frills, Richard looked to have exploited the potentiality of our (figurative) marble blocks the best but I managed a sneaky, last-minute spamming of the central Museum to snatch the win. Everyone announced themselves delighted.

Continuing the 'stacking' them, a conversation around "What games have YOU designed, Tony" led smoothly into my pulling Totemo from my vanity shelf:
From gallery of tonyboydell

Holy Colours and Numbers, Batman!

This time, Richard was able to assert his authority by averting a three-way tie at the top - sneaking the extra point ahead, he almost punched the air!

To close, now that we'd warmed everyone up properly and safely, I scanned the storage shelf and immediately pulled out Stone Age:
From gallery of tonyboydell

An entirely-suitable and utterly-wonderful entry to the worker placement genre, Stoners was an instant hit with the table: Sandra went heavy tools, Joe hoarding materials in readiness for a huge spurt of hut-building and Richard breeding out his tribe to the max. It was a close-run thing at the finale with me jogging passed Joe and Sandra - despite Sandra's evil* filling of the gold-panning spaces in the penultimate round thus preventing a game-ending build from me and giving them an extra turn each to hoover up more points!

Aa-and as the Sun was finally beginning to set on the dot of 10PM, everyone was finished - including the Endurance Event that was Viticulture World - and we scooted, happily, away into the night.

*Huzzah! Welcome to the Club!
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Thu Jun 23, 2022 10:41 am
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If I die on the Russian Front...

Anthony Boydell
United Kingdom
Newent. Glos
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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: Pun microbadges are the wurst!
For only his second week attending a 'modern' boardgaming club, Richard was inducted into the splendid, dobber-slapping, mech-building, star-achieving ways of the redoubtable Scythe and, after a couple of recent 'rum' siðe-ular experiences at the biggest player counts, the magic five seemed the perfect baseline in which to induct him! Also joining us, after his post-nuptial hiatus, was young Thomas with Newent Knight stalwarts (his Dad) Paul and Dave:
From gallery of tonyboydell

It's all smiles until someone's Mech gets trashed!

It was Dave who got off to a flyer with his Republic of Polania (White) - racing across to the Factory thanks to his first Encounter card then thrashing as many Encounter tokens as he could before retreating into the four hexes closest to Home; this was supposed to have been a pause but ended up being a siege - assailed, as he was, by Richard's Saxony (Black) on one flank and my own, creeping Nordics (Blue) on the other. Later, Paul's Rusviet Union (Red) would tunnel-creep across the board to close both Richard's and Dave's exit opportunities: a cold, but lucrative, move.
From gallery of tonyboydell

Though my own forces were thinly-spread, they were sentinel-ed by a quartet of beefy mechs and my Power hovering, discouragingly, at the top-end of the Track; indeed, it was a couple of easy-win attacks (with star placements) that saved my (Danish) bacon in my last turn to secure third - rather than last - place! Both Paul and Tom had finished 'enlist'-ing by the mid-game and had reaped huge rewards off the rest of us as a result; Tom, though, was only just ahead of me (and my 14 hexes) in the final tally while Paul was a clear winner with a thumping 90!

Despite getting boxed in, partly due to others' aggression and partly due to forgetting he could tunnel his way to some combat shenanigans (especially in my sparsely-populated fields), Richard declared that he had very much enjoyed the whole escapade: huzzah!

With 45 minutes or so remaining, we changed the pace entirely with a first for everyone (apart from Dave and myself) experience of Modern Art:
From gallery of tonyboydell

The 'posh' version.

Bidding was "enthusiastic" - probably too much so, to be honest - as all profits from one round of sales seemed to disappear into over-valued purchases of new paintings in the next. Modern Art is, of course, one of those games that you have to experience once before its true nature - of cheeky pricing, sneaky offering and timing - crystalizes. I hardly bought anything myself but managed to accrue 60K more than nearest rival, Richard, by winding up the FOMO of my fellows! A magnificent piece of work and I certainly look forward to introducing both Ra and Medici - the remainder of Knizia's unholy auction trilogy - to the peeps.
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Thu Jun 16, 2022 8:46 am
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Beer & Bats

Anthony Boydell
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I arrived at the Museum with an hour or so to spare to allow time for assembling a PnP copy of Atiwa - hot from the WeTransfer channel of the esteemed Mr Klemens Franz himself. The cutting-and-sticking was a little laborious - there are 80-ish Power Grid-sized terrain, settlement and reference cards that needed sleeving - but it would be the physical resources that took the longest to scrabble together from the Shed's recesses: there's 300+ trees, bush meat, goats, fruit, family members, gold and fruitbats in the inventory!
From gallery of tonyboydell

Sweeping up the last of the off-cuts, the main table space was no ready and waiting for Paul, Dave, myself and Richard; Richard, a new face to the club, joined us with him plenty of 1980s experience in hex/counter, SPI and roleplaying games. For him, this evening would be a baptism of fire in the 'New Way of Games' and there's no better introduction than with a renowned and highly-regarded worker placement affair:
From gallery of tonyboydell

The Wye Valley Tourer scenario has just about everything one could want in a Snowdonia scenario: points, plentily-available, from all of the thematic strands: excavation, track-laying, station building PLUS there's a beer postcard to fill as well. The WVT is fast becoming my personal favourite: the familiar locations along the route adding a little nostalgic kick too!
From gallery of tonyboydell

Richard kept up, mostly, with remembering the rules and the sequence of things though his biggest issue was his reluctance to take any Contract Cards: as any fule kno, you cannot win the game without them - a point I made repeatedly through the 'teach'. We 'old lags' jostled around the 100s for the laurels but Richard came through with a highly-respectable late 80s for his first go.

Next, then, to something cute-but-actually-abstract in the polyominoes race that is New York Zoo:
From gallery of tonyboydell

Aside from the ridiculous similarity of all the shades of green that befuddled everyone during the setup, the rest of the play was smooth and engaging. I'm not entirely sure how much of a game is actually in there as one is constantly suffering at the whim of the other players jumping passed everything you might need BUT the bits are cute and it's straightforward enough - I think I'd prefer to spend an extra 30 mins and play a bigger Uwe instead; you know me...any excuse for a 'Gric or a Nussy.

We closed - light still bathing The Shambles courtyard despite a palpable nip in the air - with Pi mal pflaumen: that delicious trick-winning, set-collecting, fruit-themed treat from five years back. Richard kept pace with a roaring Dave and Paul but my own last card/final set cash-in for 15 points rocketed me from 3rd place to a magnificent victory in a heartbeat - what a fab game to end on and, hopefully, the start of a new club membership for Richard!
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Sat Jun 11, 2022 6:15 am
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On My Radio

Anthony Boydell
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My interview, yesterday, with BBC 6 Music's Lauren Laverne:

Fame at last?!


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Fri Jun 10, 2022 6:20 am
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No Points For Second Place

Anthony Boydell
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After the hustle and bustle of my 2/3rds convention: Sunday was a far more sedate, stay-in-bed kind of day with the household finally surfacing for a late lunch around 2PM. Later, in the damp late afternoon, we scooted over to the Cinderford Palace Theatre for the highly-anticipated Top Gun: Maverick. TG:M is much more fun than it ought to have been and that's in no small part to having reacquainted ourselves with the original on Friday night; indeed, the sequel contains many nostalgic references and is a splendid two hours of old-school action cinema. Familiar (if older) faces, impressive stunt sequences and a kineticism that washes you - uncomplaining - along with it all: ah, the Summer of 1986 when, as Sixth formers on the cusp of going to Uni/Poly, all we did was go to the pub and to the movies together. That Arthur was with Mrs B and me to enjoy the High Octane(TM) shenanigans only added to the enjoyment.

On Monday, it was a return to the plodding inevitability of Death by Teams Meeting broken only by a long lunch in the company of some special Museum visitors:
From gallery of tonyboydell

With a day left before his flight home, Smoox Chen was being given a tour of Gloucestershire by Cheltenham/Tuffley regular Jeric, who had helped on the Taiwan Boardgame Design Expo stand. For 90 minutes or so, I guided them around the packed cabinets and shelves and also partook of a TBD prototype:
From gallery of tonyboydell

Name Unknown!

This two-player abstract revolves around the tenet of connecting one edge of the board to it's opposite with an orthogonal trail of your pieces; the pieces, themselves, being dropped behind the movement of one of your two Spirit Guides (black base and white base). The board is grid-ed with a pattern of black and white tiles, upon which only the appropriately-coloured spirit guides may move/land. The direction and distance of movement are dictated by the tiny 3x3 grid to the side: you move your marker to a vacant space and then move one of your guides in relation to your opponent's marker on that grid: forward, backward, forward and to the side, backward and to the side and/or sideways.
From gallery of tonyboydell

It took me a while to get that mini-grid movement idea fixed - a problem Jeric had encountered while playing over the weekend - and, between us, we managed to offer a little fix to help clarify the concept. It was a lovely brain-squeezer in the best tradition of two player abstracts; for some reason, I managed to win - I put this down to Smoox being tired and distracted rather than me being particularly skillful, to be honest.
From gallery of tonyboydell

Having stuffed his shoulder bag with gift shop souvenirs, I bade them both farewell and plodded home to a less-exciting P.M.
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Wed Jun 8, 2022 6:20 am
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The Returned

Anthony Boydell
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The last time I was at the NEC was in 2019: the year we'd snaffled sixty advance copies of Foothills and it was going to be a big year for both Tony Boydell and Surprised Stare Games! Jump cut three years and it's 7.30AM on quiet Friday; I find myself seated alone on a Ledbury platform, waiting for a Midlands train, with a rolling suitcase packed with 'pitch' prototypes (Attention All Shipping & Polygonia), copies of Corgi Dash and an emergency bag of Wine Gums.

With hotel prices (£200+ per night), NEC parking fees (£17 per day) and fuel costs (£40 for a round trip over 130 miles) being somewhat outrageous everywhere and all at once, it seemed entirely sensible that my return to one of the big conventions should be via the far cheaper daily commute model: slower, perhaps, and at the whim of train crew shortages certainly, BUT a £15 fare and £3 all day car parking is just too obvious a decision.
From gallery of tonyboydell

It also helped that Alan and Charlie (SSG, of course) had arranged to get me an exhibitor pass, so I waited at the entrance to Hall 2 as the gates opened at 0900HRS exactly and the UK Games Expo was officially happening. Ten minutes - and a short walk to the CORRECT rendezvous point - later, I was in. Lordy, oh Lordy but it was busy:
From gallery of tonyboydell

10 mins after opening...

Some errands needed to be completed first (including package deliveries, confirming pitch times with Matthew Dunstan and so on) and there was plenty of bumping in to old pals along the way as a zig-zagged through Halls 1 and 2:
From gallery of tonyboydell

(clockwise from top left: Hanno Girke (Mr Lookout Games), Tim Clare (Author & Gamer*), Smoox Chen (Taiwan Boardgame Design),
Bez (Stuff By Bez), Andrew Harman (YAY Games) and, of course, Michael Fox (II) (Wayfinder Games)

The first pass of the main spaces took about an hour after I'd spent a short while catching up with the Paulls at their big, centrally-located, shared Stand: copies of the Deluxe Master Set bowed the point-of-sale counter while a smart preview of the new Kingmaker glowed proudly in a cosy nook.
From gallery of tonyboydell

Echoes of designer Tony popped up in other places too: Scandaroon apparently making its annual appearance in the Bring 'n Buy and a mock-up of the UK Mini Express expansion map on the Moaideas Game Design booth:
From gallery of tonyboydell

While the initially-emptied suitcase filled up with goodies during the day, this return to 'normal gaming life' was more about the people than the cardboard; aside from those pictured above, it was glorious and marvellous to share chattering time with Brett J. Gilbert, Rob Harris, Ricardo from Devir, Amy at Chaos Cards (museum patrons!), the Alley Cat Games crew - Caezar, David Digby and Mike Nudd (who also signed my museum-donation copy of Waggle Dance from Bright Eye Games) and Iraklis from LudiCreations! The latter - Alley Cat and Ludicreations - were in receipt of the aforementioned design pitches and discussions about a new edition of Paperclip Railways respectively!
From gallery of tonyboydell

And a good morning to you! Tuffley gamer, Jeric, helps out Smoox on the TBD stand.

It was all rather overwhelming and, come 4PM, I'd reached my nervous limit and scurried back to the station to come back home. Indeed, anxiety has played no small part in my personal return to a gaming scene that was entirely within my comfort zone three years ago; both Bastion and Leiriacon saw me take to one side with a powerful home-sickness. I expect the same will be true of Essen Spiel also - which may affect my travelling channel/"duration of stay" decisions. What a silly, old sausage I am.

Saturday was cold and damp on the provincial railway but brightened, no end, by a chat with a French Digital Artist as we waited for the 0700HRS; there was a conference - Electromagnetic Field (https://www.emfcamp.org/about/travel) - at nearby Eastnor Castle, where she was speaking and networking. I learned about vintage computer system art/graphic recovery projects and 3D printing with actual clay...and was happy to recommend XX by Rian Hughes in return.

Arriving just before the barriers dropped, I was able to perform a quick wander through the Bring 'n Buy: a totally over-the-top warehouse of too much stuff and no chance of reviewing it all. I did spot a couple of must-buys for the Museum, though:
Schoko & Co. (£5) - the first Euro Game I ever played. I played it on the same evening that Alan and Charlie Paull came over to discuss the official foundation of (and document signing for) Surprised Stare Games! We played S&Co by way of a celebration...and my life changed from that point!
DropMix - introduced to this daft nonsense at last year's Gathering of Chums by the amazing Mr Matt Green, this was an insta-grab at £20.

A couple of hours saw me returning to demo duties on the SSG stand by way of a thank you; it was also, I guess, a chance to formally (and physically) close off that chapter of my gaming life. I was joined by Nick O'Neill, John Shepherd and Neil (one of my oldest pals) in advance of our scheduled sit-down-and-play of a much-anticipated Atiwa:
From gallery of tonyboydell

Hanno delighted in berating me for not remembering the rules but, to be honest, it all came back to me in the first 20 mins; we stuck a little on the 'Maintenance Phase' - where a rigorous sequence of river pollution, bat management, income and 'breeding' occurs - but everything sped up and ran smoothly by the mid-game.
From gallery of tonyboydell

Worker placement gets you resources - which you take from your personal supply in most cases - and more space on which to place those resources (landscapes and settlements); the key is to get a good flow of those resources back-and-forth because you'll be spending the stuff you've grown and nurtured on your terrain in order to grow your family (the villager - pink - pieces in this prototype) and attract as many fruit bats as possible (those beyond your first 10 are a VP each).
From gallery of tonyboydell

While you're focused on your own tableaus, you do need to snipe some of the plumber WP spaces before the others. It's another winner from Mr Rosenberg, you mark my words!
From gallery of tonyboydell

(from left) Neil, Nick, John and me.

Caroline (The Dyslexic Gamer) joined us as an observer - and sometime 'Advisor to Tony' - during our Ghanaian exploits; we also teased out the story of how Lookout Games was started from Hanno, when he stopped by to see how much of a hash we were making of the new jewel in their crown!

After shitting fruit seeds over the Savannah, the Blogger Quartet (me, Caroline, Nick, John) and Neil grabbed a coffee and some rare tablespace to relax, chat and prepare for our 15.30 seminar: "Blogging on BGG":
From gallery of tonyboydell

Tucked away in the business suites, thirty or so folks turned up to hear us talk about the Whys, Whens, How Longs and Oopsies of Blogging:
From gallery of tonyboydell

As MC, it was absolutely bloody marvellous to hear other people speaking about the process, the benefits and the pitfalls of pushing the written word in a cosy, largely-unrecognised corner of the biggest board game resource on the Internet. The audience listened patiently to our musings, asked insightful questions and we filled a happy hour together; we even got a lovely round of applause at the end!
From gallery of tonyboydell

If I have one complaint at all, it's that the Seminars - in general - seemed to have been given the most cursory of glances: the printed catalogue containing no detailed list (referring one to the Web, instead), no recording facilities** and very small signage. I'm not sure if I could suggest any better ways of tearing folks away from the lure of boxes-for-sale beyond:
a) holding the seminars in the evening, when the trading halls are closed and provide no distraction; and/or,
b) asking Shut Up & Sit Down to sit in on everyones' session!
Pausing, briefly, to meet and chat with Lisonix (Superfluous Somethings) and her cheerful family***, I was once again carried off to the trains by a cold, hard knot of flight response in my stomach.

It was 100% worth the time and effort to come back to the show: familiar, friendly and fun. Of course, as my first ever time experiencing it from "the other side of the demo table", the show was tinged with melancholy. However, long-awaited fist-bumps, handshakes and hugs with friends - old and new - washed all of that away in an instant.

The Obligatory Haul Picture:
From gallery of tonyboydell


*check out Coward: Why We Get Anxious & What We Can Do About It at your local, independent bookshop
**Don't worry: John did get something on his iPhone!
***pop a pair of glasses on Mr Lisonix and he's the spitting image of Matt Leacock!
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Tue Jun 7, 2022 6:20 am
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