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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

Archive for Tony Boydell

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Love is...

Anthony Boydell
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While I'm on a bit of a nostalgic bender, does anyone remember this saccharine shit from (particularly) the 1970s and 1980s?



Well, as stomach-churning as this is, it gives me an idea for some blog commentary fun: what would be equivalent 'frames' for gamers?

Here's a few to start us off:

Gamer Love is...never having to play your Sorry!

Gamer Love is...only taking Start Player in Agricola when you have a Minor Improvement to play too

Gamer Love is...helping to pack the game away when done

Gamer Love is...indie fayre (sounds like 'in the air'...)

Gamer Love is...reading the rules for a new game before the session

Gamer Love is...a many Splendor-ed thing

Gamer Love is...like oxygen: you get too much you get too high, not enough and you're gonna die (ie. you'll probably end up asphyxiated for being a dick)

Gamer Love is...the drug I'm thinking of

Fancy joining in (so to speak)?
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Today 11:02 am
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Two Pools

Anthony Boydell
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My landlady during the first couple of years doing my Computer Studies degree at Liverpool Polytechnic (now the John Moore's University) used to have a saying that she'd roll out on the first sunny day of the year: "Cast ne'er a clout til May is out". 'Clout' is not, as one might expect, a reference to a swift clip around the ear or a slap in the chops BUT to clothing: in short, it means "Don't swap your Winter clothes for Summer clothes too early". Forever heeding this wise maxim - after trolling around Wallasey in shorts and tee-shirt in May, 1987 only to come down with a heavy cold - this Boydell has forbidden the other Boydell's from assembling the family-sized swimming pool until at least June and the thermometer hits at least 25 degrees twice. Fortunately, for our baking offspring, the last week or so has sunned and sizzled the British Isles in to it's usual moaning submission (its always either too wet, too hot or too cold) and parental permission was duly granted:





Fully-assembled, the pool's designated position was swept for pointy stones and laid with carpet remnants; the pumps and filters dusted off and test-run; hose-pipes and chlorine dispensers stood ready and a new toy for 2017 ordered from the Internet (a giant, inflatable X-Wing fighter and a visor/snorkel combo for Arthur). Fast forward 24 hours and the rubber heating panels have warmed the water to a comfortable 24 degrees and we're open for business. Yesterday, after a sweaty day of User Stories and bugfix testing, I - myself - took the opportunity for a good soak; almost (but not quite) a TV comical image of "man running through house - stripping off as he goes - to plunge, headfirst, in to the Blessed cooling blue". As the sun set behind the hills - and we air-dried in the shade of the shed watching the waterboatmen fighting in the pond - Mrs B brought out a couple of generously-dosed G&Ts and the (start of the) Summer bliss was complete.

Now, if we could only play Molkky underwater?!

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Wed Jun 21, 2017 9:49 am
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Cant Stop

Anthony Boydell
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The 1970s are a misty room in my memory but one filled, still, with the echoes of jokes and songs. Whether it was the twinkling Vernon Elliot ditties accompanying Postgate & Firmin's Smallfilms, the bright pop of Top of the Pops or - above & below - the playfulness of BBC TV's Play Away, we were all short trousers and scuffed knee-caps while our parents papered the walls with orange/brown concentric circle patterns and served up 'posh' prawn cocktails and sherry trifle.

Yesterday, because that's the way Time Passing and Old Age works, one of those warm, fuzzy characters passed away: Mr Brian Cant. If you're British - and over 40 - then I shall need say no more and, like me, you will no doubt be feeling the sadness of losing an honorary grandparent. Play Away, figurehead-ed by the genial Mr C, was a variety show for us children; a Saturday evening - right after the Football Pools Results and before Doctor Who - distraction we could curl up and giggle along too. It was a simple joy.

When I started at Secondary School, we had a geography teacher called Brian Cant: "No, I am not the famous one...though I'd quite like to have his wage packet." he quipped. He tried to tell us lots of jokes, though, in those first few academic years but he just didn't have the timing.

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Tue Jun 20, 2017 6:20 am
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The Burrowers

Anthony Boydell
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Arthur had a Cub Scouts thing on Saturday afternoon so, in the midst of swelteringly-wonderful sunshine, we nipped in to the Forest of Dean - and the village of Parkend (one terminus for the Dean Forest Heritage Railway) - so he could lark about in the Lake, there, for a couple of hours. Rather than trundle 30 mins back again only to have just enough time for a cup of tea, I remembered my recent Tidenham / Wye Valley Railway micro-adventure and set off in search of another abandoned railway tunnel known to be somewhere in the immediate vicinity:

The Moseley Green Tunnel
(from the Forgotten Relics of an Enterprising Age website: http://www.forgottenrelics.co.uk/tunnels/) The Severn & Wye Railway was authorised by an Act of Parliament in 1809 and opened the following year as a horse-drawn tramway. In 1865, five locomotives were bought and the route was largely converted to broad gauge in 1868-9. Standard gauge arrived in 1872.

That year, a Mineral Loop was added to avoid the need for reversing movements at Cinderford. The section between New Fancy Colliery and Pillowell Siding incorporated a 503-yard single track tunnel at Moseley Green - masonry lined throughout with substantial masonry portals. It benefited from three ventilation shafts, one of which is now capped.

The tunnel was requisitioned as an ammunition store between April 1942 and December 1943 before completely closing to traffic on 13th March 1951. In the Seventies, a short section of the tunnel near its centre was strengthened with rail and timber bracing to help it withstand the forces from traffic passing on the road above. This has though been recently fire-damaged so its effectiveness might have been somewhat compromised.


I knew roughly where it should be so I parked on the verge and ventured off in to the woods; within a couple of minutes I'd spotted the top of a ventilation shaft (below left). What looked like a fenced off ditch from a distance turned out to be much more; stone steps in the leaves (below middle) joined stone steps cut in to the buttress of the Moseley Green Tunnel itself (below right):



As per, the tunnel itself was blocked up, and its interior inaccessible, but there were a couple of 'outbuildings' to explore: a track controller's shed and a bunker. The ground was littered with stones fallen from the trackside wall, oily water and the obligatory lager cans. I dream of finding some genuine railwayman's relic on these sojourns but - unless a Forester's great-great grandpa was a chugger of Stella Artois - it was not to be.



Away from the entrance, and off in to the forest, the track bed horizoned in to dense folliage with a tall wall on it's left and a shallow platform edge to the right; I walked it for a while until it became just fat-trunked trees.



A quick nod of appreciation and a scamper back up the steps to the waiting, now baking, Touran. There are plenty more of these dark-throated sentinels around-and-about, so I think I may see how many I can discover over the Summer. I will, of course, keep you posted.
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Mon Jun 19, 2017 6:20 am
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Whattheactualheck?

Anthony Boydell
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Read this, please:

https://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/1797551/polite-negative...

Okay?

Now please tick one of the following:

Poll: The OP making the 'polite negative feedback' is...
The OP who made the 'polite negative feedback' is:
Not polite in the slightest and should be beaten with rotten celery until penitential
Not polite in the slightest and obviously having a pop at the Publishers for their own twisted, bitter reasons
Not polite in the slightest and should be forced to play Splendor until their eyes bleed
Not polite in the slightest and, frankly, I'm disappointed you didn't do more cussing Tony
Obligatory alternative option.
      181 answers
Poll created by tonyboydell


Good day to you...

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Sun Jun 18, 2017 9:03 am
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Tears fell upon the page he read...

Anthony Boydell
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(the title is a quote from Longfellow BTW)

Amongst my 'finds' at the UK Games Expo was a bring-and-buy copy of Al Rashid which, if I recall correctly, was one of the buzz games from Essen 2012 (there were quite a few that year!):


Look at the tiny, tiny words...


It's worker placement with a bidding twist to decide which three players will resolve an action (action) or land (resource-gathering) space. So far, so meh BUT it contains two mechanical elements that provide the interest:

i) the five resources have no graduated value in themselves but it's the variety of resources that you spend that gets you more money value eg. 1 spice = 1 money, 1 pottery = 1 money but 1 spice with 1 pottery = 3 money. Thus, a set of all five is 15 money.

ii) action and land spaces are resolved in an order chosen by the players rather than some fixed loop; this lends itself to some awfully mean shenanigans indeed if one is not careful eg. process the buying of an extra worker before your opponent(s) has/have gained resources from a Land to pay for it? Pow! Resolve resource gathering from a Land space before others have collected mercenary tokens to beat the standing bandits? Wallop!

Victory points come from your workers - you need to acquire more during the game - and from 'Title' tiles ie. bonus 'people' that you have bought with sets of resources for the usual mix of abilities (once off, once per turn and game-end scoring etc).

But - and this is a BIG but - the whole thing is irreparably-tarnished by the graphics, the graphic layout and the hopeless rulebook. It's a good job that I...

a) played this once back in 2012 and vaguely remember it and
b) watched Tom Vasel do a run thru on a contemporaneous Dice Tower video

...because it is a bugger's muddle and no mistake: no diagrams / illustrations to assist, no detailed description of the action (Palace) spaces, the headings (on the board and in the book) are in an illegible faux-Arabian font, the descriptions of 'Title' tile abilities are in 4 point font (unreadable across the table and, in fact, unreadable directly in front of you unless you squint and hold it against your nose) and the most boring board artwork since our very own Confucius*.

Despite (a) and (b) above, we were (still) 30 minutes in setting up and explaining (I'd not noticed the odd colour-variations on the Title tiles, for instance: green Palace tiles that are grey on the flip side, grey palace tiles that are purple on the flip side etc) and although we got in to a relatively-smooth groove, I think Boffo summed the whole experience up beautifully: "It was almost worth all that effort."


Whining and wining.


Getting back to familiar, comforting and stoic territory, we dived in to Viticulture and rattled along in a far more pleasing way. It seemed both Jobbers and Boffo lucked in to some excellent visitor cards early on but, in spite of my (playful) complaining, it was a positive balm after all that Arabian fart-arsing about. I managed to combo some nice cards and wine contracts later but the two boys had gotten so far ahead that it was simply a race to be 'not in last place' for the rest of us.

Gary and Jobbers, the latter wielding his 'spunky table', high-tailed it out of the Pub with unseemly haste leaving myself and the Batesons to chattily-amble over to the Car Park in the glowingly-warm dark. An evening of two distinctly-different halves.



*I'm not being overly harsh, here; we at SSG took the experience of the Confucius board debacle and implemented our own internal rule of 'playtest the graphics as well as the gameplay'.
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Sat Jun 17, 2017 9:41 am
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Ain't gonna spiel...

Anthony Boydell
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I got a club, meeting Fridays in the town,
Playing Euros in the corner
Drinking beer and pop down.
Huge black carry-all on my back
I had to sit on it *zip*
Just to get the bugger packed!
I leaped in the motor
Let 'my bird' get us there
Driving through the country roads trying not to swear.

We got late round town
Couldn't find a car space
Sun went down cyclists sittin' in our place.
'Til a stranger let us share
His tay-bull-top
When I started to unpack
He didn't tell me to stop.
I tried to explain
Puerto Rico to this dud
I knew I maybe shoulda
Picked a filler game instead

He said:
'So, bud; is it like Monopoly, mun?'
I whistled through my teeth and I bit my tongue
And I sipped on my beverage
Left another Puerto player
'Splaining all the roles
From the Captain to Mayor

Get shippin', get shippin', you know it

I ain't gonna spiel with no soul sucking heel
He gonna take his move back
And I ain't scoring jack!
I ain't gonna spiel with no soul sucking heel
He gonna take his move back
And I ain't scoring jack!

Sitting right here with a beer in my hand
And we’re breaking out El Grande
Which he don’t understand
Fifteen minutes I been running thru da rules
Better get an easy one, this blokes a fool
Breaking out Dixit with the Dixit Quest deck
When it comes to his go
He's a pain in the neck
Big fat fingers bending all of the card
Telling me to go easy
Coz the clues are too hard

I got mad so I went for a slash
And he's calling after me
"Can we play Balderdash?"
Writing on the scorepad, reading out words
That chap's crap coz his answers are turds

Pencil in my leg and I'm trying not to beg
Taking turns being dasher
With this total nutmeg
Well he got me in a corner
Flapping my jaw like a fish
In the dark just waiting for 'Time!'
So give me what I got to get so I can go
Cause I ain't playing boardgames
In this Pub no more

I ain't gonna spiel with no soul sucking heel
He gonna take his move back
And I ain't scoring jack!
I ain't gonna spiel with no soul sucking heel
He gonna take his move back
And I ain't scoring jack!
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Fri Jun 16, 2017 9:31 am
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That thing...

Anthony Boydell
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...didn't go the way we'd hoped/expected; we're angry, sad and confused. It's tough to see the lighter side of life at the moment but we're all in one piece, at least.
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Thu Jun 15, 2017 8:53 pm
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Sweary Mary

Anthony Boydell
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One of the joys of getting tipsy, and having a few spare moments in the Evening at UK Games Expo, is I am allowed to crash other people's broadcasts! Here is the Who Dares Rolls 'Room 504'* special from the Expo 17's Saturday night.

I must warn you that there will be robust language:




*(think Room 101 for games and gaming)
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Wed Jun 14, 2017 6:16 am
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I bless the games down in Africa

Anthony Boydell
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As a coda to my recent enthusiastic outpourings re: May's gaming convention in Uganda, here's a splendid interview with the children who organised it by Ben Maddox at The Perfect Information Podcast:



http://traffic.libsyn.com/perfectinformation/Interview_with_...


It's tremendous and life-affirming and optimistic and I think some of us need to find a way to get stuff (and ourselves?) out there:

https://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/1795111/help-us-send-ga...

It just fills my heart with absolute Joy.
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Tue Jun 13, 2017 6:05 am
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