By Robert Florence on March 4th, 2014 at 9:00 pm.
If you like board games and you know my column, then you’ll know that it’s been a long time since I went into one of my weird–
SLIPS INTO TRANCE
–stream of consciousness type of columns I say uh oh uh oh here we go!
MERCHANT OF VENUS
Seriously, what a fucking amazing name for a board game. Merchant of Venus. Too many games are called things like “Steams of Wheat” or “Grain Enemies” or “Build A Castle For A Dude With A Codpiece”. But MERCHANT OF VENUS? Jesus, it is both a cool name and a gag too. Anyway, I have it now. I’ve never played it, so I’m keen to see what the game is all about. I’ll be playing the classic edition first (the newest print comes with the original game and a new tooled-up version of the game) and I’ll be sure to let you know what I think. With a name like MERCHANT OF VENUS I imagine it must be about being a priest on Mars or something.
NEW EXPANSION FOR THAT GAME
Big news this week with the announcement of a new expansion for that game you only just bought. That game, which is similar to a lot of other games, was one of the big hits of last year in a community that constantly likes new stuff all the time. It was surely only a matter of time before that game was expanded by more cards, more plastic, more paper, more chits, more empty space inside the box, more just kinda general stuff so that the game you’ve only played twice is kept fresh for the third time you play it. If you even do play it a third time. Which is unlikely, because…
NEW GAME IS ANNOUNCED
A new game, similar to that game you only just bought, was today announced in an announcement that had been funded on Kickstarter. The announcement had a stretch reward of two further announcements, and I’m excited to say that these other announcements are both about expansions for this new game that’s just been announced. Remember! It’s likely that the first print run of the announcement, the other announcements, the game, and the expansions will ALL vanish fast, so you better get your pre-order in early.
Are we still all playing Dominion? Me neither.
Years back, when I collapsed head-first into board gaming like NEVER before, a lot of games were coming out in these giant boxes we all called “Coffin Boxes”. Twilight Imperium III is a coffin box game. The magnificent Starcraft too. Horus Heresy, yep. Flying Frog’s Fortune & Glory is a coffin box game too, the idiots. But the age of the coffin box is OVER. How do we feel about that? It’s better, right?
I remember coming home with the Descent 1st Edition coffin box, and it felt like I was carrying a universe over my shoulder. (I wasn’t actually carrying it over my shoulder, I just said that to make the imagery more cool.) Those giant boxes, big enough to bury a fat raccoon, were completely impractical but – OH MY. THAT WAS SOME BIG TOYS.
I miss them. We’re better off without them though, huh?
Just like we’re better off without those beautiful PC game boxes from years ago. Giant boxes, full of maps and giant rule books. Yeah.
Better off without them. Yeah.
**stares out of the window**
BEING AN IDIOT
Let me talk to you about something you will probably understand – being an idiot.
I have this board game called OKKO: Era of the Asagiri. It’s based on a comic book, and it looks like this really cool skirmish game, with samurai and bad guys and ghosty women and all that good shit a person like me loves. I bought it years ago. A total no-brainer. Beautiful art, lovely slim box, full of cool stuff. The rules? Sure, I read them. Great rules! Interesting dice mechanic, nice rules for facing and so on. GREAT. Super!
I’ve never played it. Why? Because I found out that it was released alongside a bunch of beautiful miniatures.
And I can’t find them. And while I don’t have them I would have to play the game with the little cardboard standees inside the box. Cardboard. CARDBOARD BY GOD. YUCKY YUCK!
Here is why I am an idiot.
- I am not playing a game because I want all these impossible-to-find and expensive miniatures first.
- I bought the game and read the rules not knowing about the miniatures. And then I found out about the miniatures and I PUT THE GAME AWAY.
- I might not even like the game. A normal human being with a sensible brain would play the game first to see if it’s any good. Not me.
- You NEVER need miniatures. You can play a good game with matchsticks if you want.
- Because I just am.
- Because I just am, okay?
I am not playing Okko until I get those effing miniatures, okay? Do not JUDGE me.
Are any of you people idiots? Maybe you’re one of the idiots who bought all of the Arkham Horror miniatures. Maybe you’re one of those idiots who back board games on Kickstarter knowing NOTHING about the rules. Maybe you’re one of those idiots who won’t play any games with direct conflict involved.
Let me know what kind of idiot you are in the comments section below, as usual.
Kidding. Love U.
God, I love Talisman. And there’s another cool little expansion JUST ANNOUNCED. It’s called The Firelands, and get this, it sets your game on fire. No, seriously, it does. It brings all sorts of fire monsters into Talisman, and they start prowling around, burning up sections of the map and stuff.
God, I love Talisman.
I love Talisman because SURE it’s just a roll-and-move-and-see-what-happens game at its core. But beyond that? When you dig into the expansions, and the new areas, and all the variety you find with the new characters? And the TONS of different endings? Well FUCK YOU it’s the best.
Seriously, I will take Talisman to my grave. You think Talisman is boring? Then you’ve never played with me. You’ve never seen me attempt to kill a dragon about twenty times, almost on my knees in tears at every failed attempt. You’ve never seen me collect on my bounties from the City and wink in your direction, saying “Now your body is mine, baby.” You’ve never seen me take the Crown and point at you, screaming “VALHALLA UPON YE!”
And now, Firelands. There’s this monster, right, who appears, right, and then each turn a fire spreads out from it. Like, the whole AREA can go on fire. So you have to hunt him down before he burns everything up. How amaz-
I love it so much.
There’s another expansion called The Nether Realm, created by probably the biggest Talisman fan on the planet, Jon New. It brings TERRIFYING new baddies, and new endings that let you hunt those baddies, run a gauntlet of those baddies, or open Pandora’s Box to unleash hell on everyone.
Do not ever criticise
Do not ever criticise Talisman in my presence. It is magic. It is the essence of good-time dice-chucking board gaming.
Back to REVIEWS. Maybe Merchant of Venus. Maybe Robinson Crusoe. Maybe Terra Mystica. What do you fancy?