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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Post Traumatic Session Disorder

Anthony Boydell
United Kingdom
Newent. Glos
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Every homo sapiens needs an outbuilding within the curtelage of their property
Welcome...to my Shed!
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After waiting patiently for a further week, following last session's Cosmic Encounter overload, Paul finally got to give Viticulture Essential Edition a five player run out. Everyone had played before - some, like both Paul and Dave, have spent a goodly lockdown hour pushing through the solo scenarios - so it was a quick and easy start.

For me, slightly inexplicably, Viticulture presents a mental problem that I just can't seem to address: the timing. As well as having not enough workers to do everything you want, 'Vitz' spreads those workers out over four seasons. I am, it seems, utterly blind to the solution; while the others were setting up and then running their engines, I bimbled about trying to get fields planted and maybe draw a card or two that didn't involve the discounted building of buildings. Thus, for me, the clever and alluring timing puzzle is further confounded by my inability to draw cards seemingly as useful as the cards the other players draw. This aspect has always bugged me in what I otherwise regard as a very fine game: I'm sure the spread of good and bad draws evens out over the long game/term but, for someone who only plays this every 18 months or so, it's a persistent frustration.
From gallery of tonyboydell

Dave launched away, early doors, with more workers than the rest of us BUT Paul and Tom and Gerv made a great fist of clawing him back; indeed, as I remarked during the putting away ritual, those three seemed to be doing a LOT of nicely-thematic action sequences in a rich recreation of the hard vineyard life...while Dave seemed able to do everything he wanted, at the time he wanted, without even breaking a sweat. My own slow progression quickened (eventually); set up, as I was, for THREE order fulfilments in one Year (16VPs), Dave ended the game with the default Winter 'sell a wine for 1 point' action, taking him to 25 points. That'll be the Winter before my Year of Fulfilment could take place, then? I can't even remember where I gained my solitary VP but I do keep getting a flush of embarrassment when I think back to the game: two hours, a lot of fannying about and not even the chance to finish what I'd found so painful to pull together. I just don't get this game at all and I feel mortified that I demonstrated this wanton ineptitude in public: not so much a brain fart as a full-on, mental prolapse. I'm shuddering as I type this.

There was talk of continuing our appreciation of Stonemaier Games with a 'big' Scythe session next week: something I'm very much in favour of as a) I love the game immensely and b) am passably proficient at it. That's a date in the calendar marked right there, then!

To ease the mental strain a little - and after some lovely words from Paul and Dave about recent family plays - we played the Museum's demo copy of Ivor the Engine:
From gallery of tonyboydell

Oddly, and sweetly, my quick overview for Gerv's benefit was assisted by the occasional prompt from Paul; sometimes I forget the fringe details because it's been such a long time since I last played myself. There were no timing issues for me this time, however, as I blasted my way to some lucrative Town-based jobs in Llanmad and Tewyn (chuffing down the right-hand side of the board). The mean streak that the card play can elicit was in evidence - both Gerv and I hit by 'Runaway Sheep' tokens. Paul had a monopoly on Tan-y-Gwlch jobs and missed out on the linked bonus card at the last moment; Tom gathered plenty o' gold courtesy of helping Mr Dinwiddy at his Gold Mine (no stuffed wombat, though) and both Dave and Gerv mixed up their sheep-acquisition with a little more travelling and collecting. It was a pleasingly-tense finish with three of us all very much in contention right up until the last card was flipped: 32 sheep for me, 30 for Dave and mid-to-late 20s for everyone else. I can't 'do' Wine but, evidently, I can 'do' Sheep!

Tom had a long-ish drive back leaving us four to have a go at Island Racing, tweaked again since Tuesday's outing with events now on the Wind Direction cards; the Events certainly added spice and Dave didn't quite have it all his own way...but he still won again. Almost there; indeed, it should be "ready" for The Gathering of Chums where I hope to a) have a 'giant' copy for competition play and b) produce PnP packs as a delegate gift.

Jesus Christ: that Viticulture game just flashed back into my mind again - I feel a little bit sick.
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