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Every Man Needs A Shed

Life and games (but mostly games) from Tony Boydell: Independent UK games designer, self-confessed Agricola-holic and Carl Chudyk fan-boy. www.surprisedstaregames.co.uk What was that beardy bloke going on about?

Archive for Tony Boydell

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(Still) on the campaign trail...

Anthony Boydell
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10 Things That WILL Happen If You DON'T vote For Guilds of London:


1. The Third World War will break out!
2. Three million copies of Monopoly will be imported in to the US and Europe EVERY WEEK.
3. Asmodee will own everything.
4. Martin Wallace will get stuck in more litigation through no fault of his own.
5. You will lose your Human Rights.
6. Planes will fall out of the sky; Trains will not get any more Maps.
7. Did you not hear me? Asmodee will own EVERYTHING!
8. Eric Lang will be completely shaved.
9. Cards Against Humanity shall become a mandatory Sunday afternoon activity for all Adults.
10. All Cat videos will be removed from the Internet!


You can prevent all of these by voting Guilds of London!


Go here to TAKE BACK AREA CONTROL!

https://www.boardgamegeek.com/geekawards/boardgame
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Today 6:20 am
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On the Campaign Trail...

Anthony Boydell
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It all started with the Nomination; the REAL work begins NOW!






Vote Guilds of London!


Go here to MAKE A MERE ICON great again!

https://www.boardgamegeek.com/geekawards/boardgame
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Wed Feb 22, 2017 6:20 am
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I'm in it (so I could, theoretically, win it)!

Anthony Boydell
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(aside: it's a long shot, given the competition, BUT...)

Guilds of London
has made the final cut and has been nominated for:
Golden Geek Best Strategy Game 2016


And, as an added bonus, the excellent

has been similarly-'nommed' for

Best Board Game Podcast

Please go here to register your final votes:
https://www.boardgamegeek.com/geekawards/boardgame


(still VERY) much appreciated, ta!
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Tue Feb 21, 2017 12:03 pm
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Hot Metal!

Anthony Boydell
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(apologies for some of the odd formatting / line break effects on the PNGs; for some reason, Powerpoint gets sniffy about margins and 'ting in filled Text Boxes)

Here's a glimpse of at least FOUR hours of my time this weekend when I started putting together the rulebook structure for

A Nice Cup Of Tea:
A Snowdonia Game




This is a great opportunity to sort out some of the confusing elements like 'when does the game end?' (I've flipped the Round structure so it doesn't matter whether the game OR a player lays the last track piece, the round plays out anyway) and a hard statement about the one-time use of Contract Cards.



Sound-tracked by The Dukes of Stratosphear (XTC), Neil Young and others, I got quite hypnotized by the process - only pausing, briefly, to flip or change the rotating vinyl. Mind you, being a sensible sort of chap (and one willing to learn from his previous mistakes), I'm eventually going to hand it all over to someone much more professional and - importantly - possessing that independent, scrutinizing eye!

The journey continues...
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Mon Feb 20, 2017 6:15 am
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Hairy Dog Walker

Anthony Boydell
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Newent. Glos
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It was cold but the dog still needed a walk, so I wrapped up warm and dragged him off out.


Snug & cosy!


I have a favourite route that takes me to the Arboretum then across the fields to a path that circumvents the High School. Today, as the puppy gleefully rolled in fox shit and nosied every poo-pile in every hedgerow, the School was playing host to a 'local league' soccer match but precious little else: there were more people ON the pitch than AROUND it, each team's supporter base comprising a Stand-in Linesman and an aggressive bloke in a donkey jacket hurling abuse at the Ref. I, in a rather nostalgic role that harkened back to the grainy B&W footage of the 1940s and 1050s, was man with dog as I tried to work out a) what the score was and b) why EVERYONE was shouting and swearing so much!

The players were shouting. The goalies were shouting (and pointing). The linesmen were shouting and heckling their opposing numbers. Jacketman was shouting, swearing and gesturing at all of the officials. The referee - a short, tubby, tonsured fellow who looked like he'd escaped from a documentary about people who like Real Ale - was trying to shout over the top of everyone elses' shouting because his whistle was rubbish (he had to call the team captains over for 'a stiff word' at least three times in the 15 minutes that I saw). In fact, the only people on the playing fields who weren't shouting were me, Ziggy the dog and the Away team's centre forward, who looked like he'd rather go up to his bedroom for a nap.

The latter half-heartedly jogged up-and-down the same 5m stretch of grass occasionally watching the ball sail past him in various directions without changing his pace one jot. When the whole sordid, cuss-ridden, lung-busting bellow-fest finally came to an end, the disgraceful horde sulked over to the changing rooms without even the customary 'Three cheers for...': appalling.



This is why Cricket and Rugby Union are the sports of the Gods and NOT this shameful, self-aggrandizing, puffed-up shitstorm of a so-called pastime. Still, on the bright - if chilly - side, I reached my 10,000 steps for the day goal with plenty to spare.
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Sun Feb 19, 2017 6:25 am
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Are You Ready For The Country?

Anthony Boydell
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The Chef at the Prince of Wales pub, a cheery young chap with a 'man bun' and a stripey apron, limped in to the restaurant with a happy "Halloo, board gamers!" and asked if we were "going to be playing Clue this evening". Well, the face I pulled must've been a picture because he laughed and said "What's wrong with Clue?". There is, of course, a parallel Universe in which I spent the rest of the evening explaining to the catering fool the error of his flippant ignorance but it wasn't this one; no, tonight was a Boy's Night Inn *ahem*

I arrived with nothing but a phone full of podcasts - a lovely milestone in the week - and some re-pasted Foothills: A Snowdonia Game components (Ben and I have sorted out the Vale of Rheidol railway and tweaked the action board yet again); as for any actual games for a-playing? I left that to our Huffing Overlord. Given it would be me, him, Jobbers and the occasional Byll, it was prudent to avoid anything spankingly-new and potentially time-hoovering so that was my minty copies of Railroad Revolution and Great Western Trail most-definitely out. Instead, Ben presented us with the colourful Automobiles to start:


Boffo (purple) performs a celebratory drift upon winning the Inn-dy 500 (500 being the number of times we had to remind either Jobbers or Byll of the very simple rules!), closely followed by myself. The other two honked along in their jalopies an entire lap behind us: *toot-toot*


In summary: It's Dominion with cubes. Assign coloured cubes for their special effects (actions; each colour has a number of alternate actions that are randomly assigned to a game) or to move (gear cubes). 'Wear' cubes (akin to Trains' Waste cards) are collected the faster you go and must be 'chapel'-ed from your bag. Play a certain number of laps and the first/furthest over is the winner.

Boffo and I had no problems at all with the simple - elegant - mechanisms and were quickly powering our bags with higher gear cubes and trimming out the 'wear' and the useless other cubes. Jobbers engagement with the whole thing wavered because he kept arguing about how the coloured cube effects worked - despite the wording on their summary cards being VERY CLEAR INDEED . Byll just shoveled cubes about, accompanied by his usual mumbled narration, but managed to stay ahead of a seethingly-grumpy Jobbers. I thought it was tremendous fun and it breezed along briskly (after the other two had finally understood what was happening).

A long-neglected class act was our next course: Key Harvest. It's Isle of Skye, basically, so Herr Pfister and Herr Pelikan should really give the splendid Mr Richard Breese a belated 'chapeau'!


Me playing the 'Hoarder Next Door' but a bit of a crushing win for young Byll, TBH


In summary: You're 'buying' tiles to fill up your player board (all boards are identical) as two of the areas you build will score at game end. Tiles generate resources with which to 'buy'. You don't buy things directly, you buy them off player stores (yours and/or others) for the asking price and - for your store tiles - YOU set the asking price. Each tile has a unique ID, so when someone has bought the E7 then it's (pretty much) theirs for the rest of the game.

Becky arrived (having diddled with her spot all evening down at the Theatre) in time for a session of three-way Wizard. Byll and I departed early, me being on Gloucester pick-up-the-Sons duty, and so-ended another quiet night in Ross-on-Wye. Dammit! There must be more than five people in the area that like to play board games, there simply MUST.

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Sat Feb 18, 2017 9:59 am
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A True Story

Anthony Boydell
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As I was walking past the game store, I glanced at the window display and saw the man on the Great Western Trail box wink at me; I was so surprised that I'd stopped in mid-pace, one foot in the air, all my weight on the other. Pressing my nose against the glass, I stared at the game for any further movement...there was none. Remembering how to use my legs, I entered the shop by the second most interesting method: the door. The man behind the counter was doing an excellent impression of not being there at all and the only other customer was engrossed by a line of RPG supplement book spines. I shuffled over to the front window and picked up the Great Western Trail box and whispered to the side panel.

"Did you just wink at me?" I said.

"No," the cowboy replied; "you must've imagined it because I'm not a real person".

"Is that game talking to you?" said the customer by the books.

"Yes" I answered.

"This lot whisper about me behind my back" he continued, pointing at the modules; "but they go quiet if I stare at them."

Just then I felt something blow on my cheek and decided to stop listening to the other customer because he was a weirdo and he was scaring me.

"I'm still here" said the cowboy.

"I'm not." said the empty place where the man behind the counter should have been.

"You've got to get me out of here," the cowboy said, "it's not safe any more."

"I can take you as far as the end of the High Street" I offered, "only I'm supposed to meet a bus there - it's sort of a blind date, apparently. I'm worried I won't recognise it so I printed off a picture". I unfolded a crumpled polaroid and pressed it against the front of the box. "See?"

The man behind the counter had stopped pretending to not be there and was flicking his gaze between the roleplaying nutter and me; there was a five second interval between us, so when he was looking the other way, I rushed the exit and sprinted off down the pavement clutching Great Western Trail and a manic grin. By the Pelican Crossing, I bumped in to an old lady, with an old man's face and an old man's body, and s/he toppled on to the zebra stripes and directly in the path of what might have been a bus; it wasn't the bus in my photograph, so I just waited patiently on the kerb while it rolled over the old lady-man with a crunching, squeaking sound. Now that the traffic had stopped, it was safe to cross - provided you stayed well clear of the screaming children and the very angry bus driver.

The policeman stopped me a bit further down the street; he had a kind face and hands that were bunched in to fists. He introduced them to my chin and I fell over, dropping the game box; I looked up and saw it skidding in to the path of another bus, which might've been the same one as the one on my picture only the picture was in my pocket and the nice policeman was blocking my pockets by sitting on my back and stopping my arms from moving about. The bus was evidently heavy because it made just as much of a mess of Great Western Trail as the other one had made of the Man-Lady.

"The cowboy made me do it" I said, with difficulty.

"They all say that" replied the lovely policeman.

When he had made my wrists safe, by wrapping them in handcuffs, we went to a small, quiet room in his workplace where he and a friend took it in turns to ask me hard-hitting questions ie. whenever one asked a question, the other would hit me hard.

"You brought this on yourself" gloated the deck of standard playing cards in the corner. "I suppose that's true" I answered, and let my eyelids help me do a convincing impression of being unconscious.
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Fri Feb 17, 2017 12:51 pm
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Only Me!

Anthony Boydell
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There's been a growing movement of solitaire gamers gathering behind Snowdonia over the last 18 months which is, given the age of the game - currently approaching it's FIFTH birthday (the day Lookout Games said they wanted to co-publish) - is tremendously heartening and satisfying! Many have immersed themselves in the delights of surviving the vagaries of the weather/Event cubes and, with the various locos in tow, trying to get as big a score as possible.

Others - more recently - have turned to developing their own Automa - a preprogrammed NPP (Non-player player) of sorts - to focus all their hate, loathing and frustration on: not really a solo game, then, but more of a s(t)imulated two-header!



Automa are excellent and very much the 'in thing' at the moment; all of Jamey Stegmaier's games have them and "Big Bad Boris" in Guilds of London is one too. Automa hog your actions, steal your resources and toughen up the experience; they also don't piss about with their phones or get soy sauce all over the components!

So, if it's all gone quiet in the snug this evening, why not give M and/or D's alternative solo Snowdonia setups a run? Make sure you give them bountiful feedback because, if they're a success, I may feel inclined to publish them!

Finally, here's a little blast from the past: it's early Spring 2012 and - with the anticipation of a Summer of final layouts and Snowdonian publication plans - I had been focusing very much on the aforementioned solo variant:

Quote:

(from a round-robin playtester group email of 16th March)

Chaps,

Played a second solo game tonight - reusing train no.1 to see if a) losing the train in the first game was bad and b) I could beat my previous score (186)

- the game lasted 30 minutes (13 turns)
- initial weather was: (start)/Rain/Sun followed by sun, rain, rain, rain, sun, fog, sun, sun, sun, rain, (rain), (sun) (last two not used)
- scoring:
- buildings = 58
- track = 18
- bonus cards = 101 (see photo)
- survey = 1
Total = 178 points

Aaargh! I did WORSE despite keeping my train! (sad face). I ran out of my marker cubes triggering game end BUT the state of the Stock Yard / cubes in the bag meant that the game would've almost certainly finished in the next round anyway (the game laying the last piece of track). I'm content that 16 marker cubes is enough - I was more selective about what I completed this time (a lot of good that it did me!).

Cycling ALL cards at the end of the round works well - a couple of times there were TWO bonus cards I wanted and you're only able to take one!

A couple of times I took and converted/built with resources to put more cubes back in the bag to dilute the event cubes...

Question: 6 cubes per round into the stock yard might be too many?

I would really love to hear how you guys get on with the solo game (with train no.1 to start) - fancy giving it a go (it only takes 40 mins including set-up and take-down)?

Best wishes,
Tony

(and I even included a game end snapshot)


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Thu Feb 16, 2017 7:03 pm
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Always use 'protection'

Anthony Boydell
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Ooh, look what just arrived:



Mooo-vellous Pfister goodness!


But look how it was packed:



All those itty-bitty bits - Gah!


No way was I going to try and cajole the thing out of that sea of polystyrene; just think of the carpets! No, I had to wander off and find the wheelie bin and tip it out, unceremoniously. I suppose I could've found a plastic bag and decanted the thermoplastic polymer into it for later re-use but, really, the mess: always 'the mess'!

There is, of course, an excellent choice of transportatative protectatorial bufferage resources but which one is, truly, the best? It's been a while, so I thought I'd whip my Poll out:

Poll
Packaging is as much an integral part of our hobby as picking pubic hairs off the game board or comfortable slippers...but which 'form' is your favourite?
As the recipient, what is your favourite form of postal/courier service protective packaging?
Bubblewrap...because it's one of Man's greatest inventions after the Wheel, Writing and Bacon. In fact, the item delivered can remain ignored for days at a time when da wrap has been employed!
Plastic curls...because they look like the UK's favourite cheese-flavoured puffed-corn snack 'Wotsits' (Cheetohs to you foreign types) and are always good for amusing 'bowl of mid-game snacks' prankage!
Inflated Rectanguloid Blisters...because they make excellent neck-pillows for those suffering whiplash/trampolines for an adventurous guinea pig
A million tiny shards of electrostatically-attracted plastic...because I absolutely adore housework/I am a pig who cares nothing for my personal or environmental wellbeing.
Scrunched-up newspapers/magazines...because that's what my parents used and my grandparents before them, dammit! You also get a pretty good idea of the Seller's politics by flattening, ironing and then reading the material which - naturally - affects the feedback one provides subsequently eg. Daily Mail = No stars, The Guardian = 3 stars, Knave Readers Wives 1985 = 5 Stars (things were bushier back then) etc
No packaging at all...I like to live dangerously/gain a sexual thrill from dents & dings/trust that MyHermes respect their customers and are wholly-bound by their Duty of Care (ie. I am an twat)
None of the Above...I'm only here for the swearing (of which there has been precious fucking little, lately).
      269 answers
Poll created by tonyboydell

P.S. If you liked my Poll then please do feel free to thumb it.
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Wed Feb 15, 2017 12:26 pm
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Peace & Quiet

Anthony Boydell
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This week, the house is dark and silent when I leave for work because it's the half-term holidays. Normally I would bump in to one son (and be berating another for not getting up) but now they're allowed to slumber on. It's a lonely moment unlocking the front door, sliding out to the chilly pre-dawn and closing/locking as quietly as possible; I did it all the time in the prime of my London working, setting off at 0500 to get to High Wycombe in time for the 0730 to Marylebone. Sometimes I'll pull over on a remote road, wind down the window and just listen to the countryside waking itself; just for a couple of minutes, mind you, I'm not a weirdo!

It's poetic and beautiful at that time of day; empty, peaceful. As one approaches 'work', of course, the dribbling spring becomes a stream becomes a foaming river of urgency, fuss and noise! At lunch, I like to lock myself away with a sandwich and a book; recapturing, just for a brief period, the sanctuary of the day's intimate beginning.

Home, then, at the close, to lock the doors and pull the curtains across. The World is a loud, confusing and terrifying place, currently, and the less time I spend directly 'in it', the better TBH.

Oh, my poor wobbling tum-tum.
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Tue Feb 14, 2017 10:29 am
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