Anthony BoydellUnited Kingdom
UnspecifiedWelcome...to my Shed!
Having travelled, figuratively, into a Jules Verne-ian Universe of lost-and-nearly-forgotten board games through my Museum curating responsibilities, I'm finding the pleasure of discovery all the sweeter for applying a little more patience to my buying schedule. In the beginning, it was a scattergun approach: hopping from decade-to-decade, from thematic group to thematic group, and gathering "a little bit of everything" to provide a solid foundation. Of course, as the exhibits began rolling in I began to refine my tastes; particular manufacturers and genres, the quality of art and (naturally) the rarity: my Museum must have beautiful things that other museums don't!
The 1930s, 40s and 50s are an angler fish lure to me; hypnotised, I scour my eBay 'Saved Search' emails for a new Geographia map-based affair, a small-but-perfectly formed Waddy card game, something with trains I've not seen before from anyone (frankly) and/or the A-Hoy! Series (Robert Ross & Co./J. Dring Ltd.). Thus, this week's Saturday 'in the shop' saw me protectively-mounting boards for Safety First and Shipping, and cataloguing the contents of this absolute super-rare corker:
From elsewhere, here: "This is a game of Privateers vs. Spanish Galleons. The Galleons, one carrying the Treasure, are attempting to deliver it to their home port while the Privateers are attempting to capture the gold. All ships have equal speed, strength and vulnerability."
As is usual for this period, the box insert is a work of sculpted genius; of glued compartments and ridiculous dimensions:
Preposterous components include:
tiny, wooden beads to 'thread' over the mast(s) of the ships (they represent the health of the ship and, as they're removed due to player/sea-inflicted damage, severely affect its speed and ability to ride the winds efficiently);
six wooden galleons with their (detachable) masts;
the chance to get expert instruction(!);
a plastic tee-totum;
a rolled, map (see below) and a set of brass weights to hold the map flat on the table (one for each corner)!
"...the map, which shows wind direction in each diamond as well as ports, forts (gray areas with letters and gold triangles), calm areas (diamonds containing blue sea serpents), sandbars(yellow diamonds), dry land (gray diamonds), ice flows (icebergs in the diamond) and coral reefs (orange diamonds). The ships move around the map based on the wind direction and are really only limited to changes in wind direction and decisions to change ship direction. Chance only comes into play when you move on to a calm area, the teetotum is then used to determine whether the wind comes up."
Another day, another wild and intriguing mechanism for simulating movement at sea! Indeed, I also managed to nab a cheap copy of Cape Horn (1999) which, at first glance, certainly seems to have taken some major inspiration from its Ahoy! Ancestor.
Given the current Industry obsession with cranking out the same turgid Euro mundanity, miniatures-based borefests and "more interesting things to do with dice", I feel like I've got a real head-start on finding new-and-interesting directions for my games - what with having unfettered access to a motherlode of historic design creativity that's been largely dismissed and forgotten. The Museum, it seems, is morphing into a laboratory!
Life and Games (but mostly games) from Tony Boydell: Father, Grandfather, Husband and Independent UK Game Designer.
- [+] Dice rolls