Cardboard Children: Are You Socochaga?

Hello youse.

After last week’s epic column about that epic game Civilization, I’ve decided to do a little short one to get us prepared for the run-up to Christmas. Just a little tasty one. A little bite. A little yum-yum.

I’m going to write this column as a little stream of consciousness thing. No structure. No bells or whistles. Let’s see what pops out. Settle down with an espresso and enjoy.

  • Can you ever imagine having a relationship with a sexy girl you’ve met at a board game club? No, of course you can’t. But that’s not because sexy girls don’t play board games, it’s because you’re extremely unattractive.
  • For balance, here’s that same thought from the other angle. Ladies, can you ever imagine having a relationship with a sexy guy you’ve met at a board game club? No, of course you can’t. But that’s not because sexy guys don’t play board games, it’s because all the ones who do are paedophiles.
  • If Reiner Knizia invited you to a party, he’d have you doing sums all night.
  • Soylent Green/Red/Yellow/Blue/Black is Meeple.
  • That board game you’re getting for Christmas? You won’t play it until April.
  • When you get a big group of people together, play Werewolf. I recommend the Werewolves of Millers Hollow version of the game. People will think they are going to hate it, and then they will love it. If you don’t know what Werewolf is, it’s like that Mafia game people sometimes play on internet forums. Everybody closes their eyes, and Werewolves choose who to kill. And then, everyone opens their eyes and votes for who they want to hang. If you vote for someone who is secretly a Werewolf, they will form a coalition with David Cameron and fuck you over for five years.
  • Video gaming and computer gaming is so mainstream now that it isn’t cool anymore. Board gaming is what I would like to call “Social-Cool Charisma-Gaming”. That’s the new term. Or maybe “So-co-cha-ga”. SOCOCHAGA. Are you a socochaga? Please spread the word that I’ve invented the term “socochaga”. First photo I see of a girl wearing a SOCOCHAGA self-printed T-Shirt gets rewarded in some way. “Are you socochaga?!” I wonder how many celebrities are socochaga…
  • Cosmic Encounter is maybe the greatest game design of all time. “It’s not better than Chess!” Fuck you. Away to one of Knizia’s parties with you.
  • Hey, board game designers! Can’t one of you make a game that is a total commercial flop, is hated by the majority of people who play it, but someone like me can build a case for it being a work of art? Oh, someone already did? Cool, I’ll talk about that in the New Year.
  • Imagine you had to give a rules explanation before sex. You’d inevitably rush it, then once underway you’d miss an important mechanic, and leave feeling unsatisfied.
  • I bet Beyonce is a socochaga.
  • Hey, board game designers! It’s not a crime to ask us to roll a dice once in a while. If everyone had as much of an aversion to the possibility of bad luck as you guys, half of us wouldn’t have been born! Give us some knucklebones!
  • Here’s an idea. Pick up an old copy of HeroQuest from ebay, and put the board in a frame. Stick it on your wall. It’s attractive, and makes an interesting talking point for burglars.
  • Board gaming is like swinging, but without the sex. Couples can get together and release their tensions, by swapping partners and participating in activities that seem fun at the time, but create an awkward drive home in the car.
  • Socochaga is pronounced So-Co-Cha-Ga.
  • It’s disgusting to be writing a weekly column about board games, when there are so many people in the world who can’t even afford to fucking eat.
  • Look at the off-centre, ugly banner heading picture I made. That’s why I’m a writer and not a whatever the job name is for people who do banner heading pictures. And that last sentence is why I’m amazed I’m a writer.
  • There’s this game called Jungle Speed. It’s a card-matching game. It’s a wee bit like Snap! When you match cards with another player, you need to grab the “totem” from the middle of the table before they do. It’s a rubber thing that looks a bit like a dildo. When you’re drunk, it’s a great game to play. You’ll injure yourself, but you’ll be laughing while doing it. And, hey, bruises fade. Recommended.
  • I don’t think I like Carcassonne very much. Maybe some expansions will change my mind. But Settlers of Catan is still brilliant. A beautiful thing.
  • Found this horrifying “Fun game idea” online can you imagine how that would work with your family? “Is he an alcoholic?” “Did she have an affair with a bricklayer?” “Would you let him babysit your kid?” “Did she die suddenly last March?”
  • I’ve had a strange week. So sorry.
  • I found this thing online too. It’s a beautiful thing. I love it. Take a look. Look at the big love heart.
  • I would love to see a big miniatures and dice board game in mainstream toy shops and supermarkets again. We need something that could do for young people today what HeroQuest and Space Crusade did for us. Most kids probably think board games are shit, and it’s because the ones you find in Tesco ARE shit.
    Get a big sack of dice, as many as you can hold in your hands, and throw the fuckers. Bliss!
  • If you haven’t played Summoner Wars, you’re missing out on something special. You can even buy a hard playing board for it now, so there are LITERALLY NO NEGATIVES.
  • There should be a Grindr style app for the iphone that tells you how close you are to someone with an interest in board gaming. “THERE IS AN AGRICOLA PLAYER TWENTY METRES FROM YOU, HIDING IN SOME BUSHES.”
  • Chaka Khan is a Socochaga. A Chakhasocochaga.
  • If you like rolling dice, Formula D is worth looking into. It’s a car racing board game, and you have a dice for every gear in your gearbox. The dice get bigger as you move into higher gears, until you’re rolling a big boulder at top speed. It’s a game about choosing the right racing lines, and being in the right gear as you take corners, and it’s great. The components of the most recent Asmodee edition are beautiful, and it’s so easy to learn how to play. Everybody just “gets it”. I also think it’s important to have a nice variety of games in your collection, and a racing game is something different from the FARM OR FIGHT usual suspects. Try it.
  • Everybody suggests you visit boardgamegeek when you start getting into board games. Sure, it’s a great site. But it’s a bit biased towards Eurogames, and can be a bit snobbish. So make sure to visit here regularly, for balance. They’re all sick fucks, but they like to roll dice and tend to look for games that are “fun”. Shock horror!
  • Please tell me what board games you are getting for Christmas, so I can smile or scream in horror.
  • And follow me on Twitter, if you like. I’m @robertflorence on there. I talk about board games, games, telly and myself.
  • Are you socochaga?
  • Bye!
  • That’s it, bye!
  • No, you hang up.
  • Bye!


  1. brog says:

    * Carcassonne is diminished by expansions.
    * Race for the Galaxy is not, but DON’T use them when teaching a new player.

    • mister k says:

      Hunters and Gatherers is scientifically superior to the original. But isn’t really an expansion.

    • BooleanBob says:

      I worked my way up patiently but was completed defeated by the time I reached the second RftG expansion. The game becomes a cross between Mario Party and playing three simultaneous games of Pipeline.

    • lokey says:

      The hunters and gatherers carcassonne game is awesome. Hands down the way to go. Mammoths, and tigers and a stonehenge card. And little gold nuggets. Very good. The only thing i miss from the orginal/expansion stream version is the dragon.

    • Shadowcat says:

      Carcassonne is a fine game. The expansions are a really mixed bag, and whether you’ll enjoy a given expansion will depend hugely on how you play the game, so they can definitely be detrimental. For example, the Princess & Dragon expansion enables people to be removed from the board, which will be horribly frustrating for some players. The Tower expansion makes it significantly harder to evaluate the state of the board, which may cause increased analysis time, or just general confusion.

      I play with my family, and we have a few expansions, but in the end we settled on just using the (applicable) extra tiles to expand the size of the standard game (including river), without using any of the extra rules. We’ve recently added in the second river expansion, however, for some extra variety.

      Hunters & Gatherers is an excellent variation. A little different to the original game, but just as enjoyable.

  2. DrugCrazed says:

    “If you vote for someone who is secretly a Werewolf, they will form a coalition with David Cameron and fuck you over for five years.”

    +1 to you sir. +1 to you…

  3. log says:

    I didn’t get the one about sexy men being pedophiles…?

    • Grandstone says:

      I think the joke is that any man who both is attractive and plays board games is too maladjusted to be anything but a pedophile. But it isn’t funny if you have to explain it.

    • Britpunk says:

      Not quite. If the sexy girl board game players think the sexy man board game players are ‘fond’ of kids, then the sexy girl board game players will instead fall in love with those of us who are anything but sexy men.

  4. Armyofnone says:

    Excellent, now do the one about Atmosfear. SURELY YOU’VE PLAYED IT?!

  5. just a cat in a hat says:

    interesting. tell me more

  6. mandrill says:

    The spambots must be evolving. This one got past the security measures. Its a bit like that moment in Jurassic Park where the ‘raptors figure out how to open doors.

  7. RadioactiveMan says:

    “Here’s an idea. Pick up an old copy of HeroQuest from ebay, and put the board in a frame. Stick it on your wall. It’s attractive, and makes an interesting talking point for burglars.”

    Actually, at my parents house, they have a Monopoly board hanging on the wall. WAIT, hear me out: Its actually a wooden board that my great grandparents carved by hand and painted during the Depression in the 1930s. Cool- eh? They also hand-crafted all the houses, hotels, player pieces, and created the property cards from cardstock. But those don’t hang on the wall. That would be silly. Everything is hand written, and looks really neat. They never made the money however, so if we play we use the regular monopoly monies.

    • Robert Florence says:


    • Torgen says:

      That is very awesome. Make sure that is cared for with the proper love when it is passed down.

    • Edgar the Peaceful says:

      Talking of framing games, I recently bought Dragonmaster (70s card game) with the intention of framing the cards, cigarette card style:

      link to

      Bob Pepper’s the artist – he also did the lovely Dark Tower illustrations.

    • DrGonzo says:

      Strangely, my grandparents have a very old framed Snakes and Ladders board on the wall.

  8. JB says:

    “Please tell me what board games you are getting for Christmas, so I can smile or scream in horror.”

    Looking like Settlers of Catan and Pandemic.

    w00t w00t

    • Robert Florence says:


    • Ed says:

      @jb: shamefully, I’ve not played either catan or pandemic, but that sounds like a good prospective haul! For my part, the ladyfriend is getting small world, and I’m quietly hoping and praying for claustrophobia.

    • log says:

      Nexus Ops.

    • Luke says:

      Last Night on Earth expansions, on your recommendation.

      Wife has offered to buy me War of the Ring, but I don’t want her paying 120 quid for it, can’t justify that. Lovely of her but that’s a lot of money for a game.

    • The Snee says:

      Probably gonna go for Arkham Horror or Cosmic Encounter based on the recommendations.
      And more WARMACHINE

    • Edgar the Peaceful says:

      I just bought Talisman 2nd edition on ebay. Gonna play it with my 10 year old daughter and generate a big old heart above the table. Plus Castle Ravenloft (bought following your review, Rab/Rob) has got me back into figure painting.

    • Gary W says:

      Ticket to Ride: Europe, YINSH and Key to the Kingdom.

    • jonfitt says:

      Death Angel and the Pandemic Expansion so far.

      I’m going through the excellent Dice Tower Top 100 looking for something else good too though.

    • JB says:

      @Ed: Don’t feel shame, I’ve only ever played electronic Catan, and no Pandemic. As for Small World, I’ve always thought that sounds great, another one for me to get eventually!

    • pkt-zer0 says:

      Chaos in the Old World for me, hopefully.

    • disperse says:

      Pandemic is great! Settlers is, well, settlers. But my opinions are colored by playing it WAY TOO MUCH.

      I don’t know what I’m getting for Christmas but I’ve asked for DungeonQuest.

      I do, however, know what I’m buying for my friends and family: Ticket to Ride, Zombies!!, Zombies expansions and this for my 3-year-old: link to

    • Christopher M. says:

      I’m not getting it, and it’s not really a board game, but I’m getting my brother Munchkin Fu.

    • Prof says:

      Civilization, for sure. My last contact with the series was the Xbox 360 version and I loved the stripped down mechanics that still retained the feel of the PC games. Looks like the new board game’s attained that and more. Other than that, I’m chipping in for a copy of BSG and getting the new Summoner Wars factions and board.

      Of course, any new purchases were secondary concerns as soon as I saw this announcement.

      link to

      Literally spunked blood due to sheer unadulterated joy.

  9. VelvetFistIronGlove says:

    North American boardgames : Eurogames :: CODBLOPS : S.T.A.L.K.E.R.

    That is all.

    • Altemore says:

      Patently untrue. There is, as far as I know, no trend of making boardgames cinematic. man, that would be the greatest. You draw a card: “Okay, so there are these terrorists here, right? Underneath a hail of gunfire you manage to dramatically kick their asses until a bunch of explosions totally tear apart the landscape, leaving you with 3 less health than you had before. It was totally sweet though, believe me”. It would really be a game all about flavour text.

    • Robert Florence says:

      Oh god no.

      If anything, the reverse. Eurogames, usually all mechanic. Ameritrash, usually all theme.

      CODBLOPS is just a game. STALKER is all atmosphere.

    • VelvetFistIronGlove says:

      @Altemore: Cinematic board games? :D

      @Robert: I wasn’t intending to compare theme in boardgames with the example, as much as mechanics. Eurogames tend to have more involved mechanics that enable a variety of strategies/tactics/playstyles; the player must engage with the mechanics. Ameritrash games tend to simpler mechanics, and usually rely on the player engaging with the theme.

      Maybe Deus Ex would’ve been a better example than Stalker, since its presentation was always second-rate but its mechanics were broad and deep.

    • liquidindian says:

      It’s more like films. You grow up with films that vary wildly in quality, the vast majority shite. Then you discover foreign films. You have to seek them out, so you’re watching recommendations, not merely every film that comes along. So you conclude that foreign films are ace, and Hollywood just churns out crap.

      In this analogy Monopoly Revolution is Transformers 2, Carcassonne is The Lives of Others, and Claustrophobia is Inception. (Space Hulk would probably fit better, but I haven’t played that)

  10. Conor says:

    “If you vote for someone who is secretly a Werewolf, they will form a coalition with David Cameron and fuck you over for five years.”

    This, this, a thousand times this.

  11. RadioactiveMan says:

    Clever Girl…

  12. Gibius says:

    My girlfriend enjoys things like puzzles, crime scenes and viruses destroying the human race. Would Pandemic therefore be a good way to get her into board games?

    We have played Cluedo together, and a Discworld game called Thud! at which she destroyed me. Embarrassing given that I’m a wargamer as well…

    Also, I got Arkham Horror about two Christmases ago. They really got the Lovecraft thing perfected because when I open the box I recoil in abject terror! Or am just intimidated and just use it as an ornament. Mmm, box art.

    • liquidindian says:

      “My girlfriend enjoys things like puzzles, crime scenes and viruses destroying the human race. Would Pandemic therefore be a good way to get her into board games?”

      Pandemic would be perfect. It’s sometimes accused of being more like a puzzle than a game (I don’t see this as a criticism) so it should work well. It’s pretty simple to pick up, you can adjust the difficulty, and it’s not intimidating as even simple games with orcs and elves and the like can appear.

    • JB says:

      “My girlfriend enjoys things like puzzles, crime scenes and viruses destroying the human race.”

      I’m so glad it’s not only MY missus. =\

    • Gibius says:

      Cheers for the reply, Liquidindian. That’s enough to convince me to part with the cash for it. Even if she doesn’t like it, it’s not overly expensive as far as board games go.

      If she DOES like it, I might be able to get her to play Small World. Cutesy races and tongue in cheek atmosphere might help.

    • JuJuCam says:

      My girlfriend’s gateway game was Carcassonne, but eventually we worked out all the tricks to playing ruthlessly and got tired of being annoyed at one another. We followed up with Pandemic. The co-op nature of it is great, but I have to work hard to hold myself back from just ordering her and our other friends around.

      Mostly we don’t play it two player though, much more fun to unleash it on an unsuspecting guest.

    • mod the world says:

      “My girlfriend enjoys things like puzzles, crime scenes and viruses destroying the human race.”

      You better use a condom next time…

  13. McDan says:

    Robert Florence, you are amazing. I haven’t laughed so hard in at least a month. Well played.

  14. Katsumoto says:

    Well, my parents asked me what I wanted for Christmas just the other day, and seeing as I had just finished reading one of your previous pieces, I was like: “I WANT THE SID MEIER’S CIVILISATION BOARD GAME PLEASE MUM”. I can barely contain my anticipation! However, I offered them the alternative of the BSG board game if they couldn’t find the Civ one. Either way – fuck!

    Awesome scenes. I’m going round to my parents on Christmas Eve, and will spend the evening picking up the presents and shaking them to determine which one they got me.

  15. postmanmanman says:

    “Please tell me what board games you are getting for Christmas, so I can smile or scream in horror.”

    After that last column, Civilization is an inevitability. I’m also considering the Catan expansions (already have/love the base game), and maybe some Neuroshima Hex for something a bit faster and more agressive.

    • VelvetFistIronGlove says:

      Catan expansions: if what you enjoy most in the base game is building towns, gathering resources, expanding, and friendly trading, then Seafarers will probably suit you nicely. It greatly expands the board, and adds exploration/discovery.

      If on the other hand you’re a dirty bastard and enjoy nabbing a building spot just before an opponent, nicking their best resources with a Monopoly card, and stealing longest road/largest army off them, then go for Cities & Knights. It makes the game a little harsher, but also greatly increases avenues for competition between players.

      Both expansions can technically be used together, but the result takes much longer than either, and is generally not as fun as either on its own.

    • postmanmanman says:

      Cool, thanks for the tips. I’m thinking I’m leaning toward Seafarers initially, as one of the reasons I love Catan is that it doesn’t put everyone at each others’ throats, but chances are that I’ll pick up Cities and Knights at some point, too.

  16. malkav11 says:

    I myself will not be getting any board games for Christmas. I don’t have the space for them (or to play them) and I only ever have one person over at a time, tops. However, once I ascertain whether the host of the weekly gaming party I attend has acquired Civilization or the Space Hulk card game on his own initiative, he may find himself receiving them from me if he has not. Much the way he did Chaos in the Old World and for much the same reason.

  17. TooNu says:

    I’m getting Cosmic Encounter for Christmas at long last. Based on your video review and the fact that the great Tom Vassel made it his number 1 game, so I dropped enough hints in the ocean of Christmas questions so that a man could walk from Greenland to Iceland to Scotland, without getting his feet wet.

  18. KBKarma says:

    Technically, I’ve got Arkham Horror for Christmas. Except I bought it. So that’s interesting.

    I have never played HeroQuest. You can be all shock and horror as you like. The thing that got me playing boardgames… well, the two reasons I do. The first is my college gaming society. I’ve never met a nicer bunch of people. Second, a friend of mine who used to come to cons with three suitcases: one for clothes, and two filled with boardgames. She introduced me to Articulate, the finer points of Munchkin, and Pass the Bomb, leading to me eventually joining the MiBs.

  19. leeder krenon says:

    fortress ameritrash is a most excellent web site.

  20. Nick says:

    I’m not getting any for christmas, but we are digging out my late grandmothers old collection to play like we used to when we were kids – they are all 40’s/50’s originals with the highlight being Careers. I fucking love Careers, Uranium mining is the job for me.

  21. badvibration says:

    Thank you for introducing me to the greatness of board games. I couldn’t imagine learning about them from a more marvelous person.

  22. DarkNoghri says:

    This seems like as good a place as any to mention this:

    link to

    It’s a webcomic that takes place inside a turn-based strategy type world. It’s made of hexes. The writing and artwork is excellent.

    Anyway, Civilization, Settlers of Catan, and Battlestar Galactica are all on my Christmas list. We’ll see if I get any of them.

    • Arathain says:

      Erfworld is fascinating. It’s a neat comic, for all the reasons you mentioned. Whatever possessed the writers to want to create a story based around the people involved in a turn-based fantasy wargame? I have a hard time imagining a large target audience, although it seems to happily include me.

  23. Jim Reaper says:

    For my first foyer into board gaming since “Lost Valley of the Dinosaurs” as a kid, I shall be getting Castle Ravenloft for Christmas…I hope. I’ve already talked three of my friends into giving it a go…can’t wait!

    • lurk says:


      Man, what would the foyer of Hotel Board Games be like, though? Full of board games, presumably.

    • JB says:

      I’ve still got my copy of Lost Valley in the loft. I play it sometimes with the kids. Got to love that lava flow!

    • Hybrid says:

      Castle Ravenloft! Great game! I’ve played it once so far, and only went over half the rulebook about half an hour before we started playing, but it all went smoothly and was great fun.

    • Jim Reaper says:

      @ Lurk. Thank you for the correction. Teach me to type to fast.

      @ JB. Yeah, I have fond memories of Lost Valley. I especially liked the cardboard bullets, and the Pteranodon of course.

      @ Hybrid. That is heartening to hear. I have high hopes for it and look forward to having my arse handed to me by that dragon!

  24. salejemaster says:

    yesterday my Pandemic arrived, had a blast playing it last night with some friends! (we played 5 games and didn’t win once :()

  25. DrPepper8 says:

    I just bought Small World as my Christmas present to myself – now I just need to persuade my friends to play it!

  26. FreezerBag says:

    Well I don’t know which board games I might be getting for Christmas, but I picked up Age of Conan, Tribune, Warrior Knights and Android in the FFG sale last week. What a haul!

    Android… How the hell am I ever going to persuade anyone to play this wonderful madness with me?

  27. geldonyetich says:

    I’m more Co-ga than So-co-cha-ga, because charisma is a dump stat and socializing is how you invest points in it.

    Of course, I get to keep the Co, since my mom thinks I’m cool.

    (Why no, this isn’t satire, Christmas just came early for you.)

  28. Auspex says:

    I love Jungle speed! Unfortunately for some unknown reason I was always end up calling it Jungle /Fever/ by accident and offending someone after spending all night drinking and punching them in the hand is not a good idea. :-(

  29. jackflash says:

    Well, I don’t know what I’m getting for x-mas, but I got my brother Warhammer Invasion. I think we’ll have some fun with it.

  30. Tetragrammaton says:

    I am Shub-tsthaggua

  31. President Weasel says:

    Rab, that thing you found online, with the big heart? It’s a thing of great joy. Thanks for finding it.

  32. gou says:


  33. gou says:

    and by that I mean: there are no security measures, these replies required no login or captcha

  34. alice says:

    Beyonce is known to be an avid Connect-4 player, challenging people in clubs and stuff. Not sure if that qualifies her as a socochaga or not.

  35. Laughingman says:

    Christmas Gifts – Alien Frontiers hopefully. And I might look at Survive! as a gift from me to me as well. :)

  36. RagingLion says:

    I’m getting a late birthday present of Dixit from my parents after having watched your video review of it a few months back. Should be coming through the door any day now and I’m very excited to try it out. I think it will work brilliantly with my group of friends and apart from anything else it’s just very different from any other games that typically get played. I’m intrigued to see how it pans out and if everyone naturally becomes a poet or philosopher when playing it as you suggested might happen.

    Is there a best way to introduce Dixit to people? Do you reckon any group will always have a good and interesting time with it or might it all depend on that initial pitch and the tone you suggest it is played with?

  37. qrter says:

    I don’t really like Settlers of Catan – there, I said it.

    I always feel the buying/selling resources part of a round takes forever and grinds everything to a halt.

  38. Taillefer says:

    “Can you ever imagine having a relationship with a sexy girl you’ve met at a board game club? ”

    Her name was Lola, she was a Socochaga…

  39. Haplo says:

    Hey, Mr. Florence! Or other RPSers I guess. I would like your opinions on something.

    A few years ago I was given a board game for Christmas called ‘Kingdom Quest’. Par for the course in my family we never ever touched it despite my continual attempts.

    Anyone heard of it? Anyone think it’s any good?

  40. LoBear says:

    Ah this column is awesome, you should put links up on Downtime Town too ^_^ AND DO THE ZOMBIE SPECIAL!!!!!!! :P Haha, I always rush home from work on a saturday to read it cos its never up before I leave.

    Randomly we’ve started playing Rogue Trader cos my mates mate turned up with the book one day. . . I’d been wanting to try a PnP game for ages but to be honest didn’t think i could coax the group into it.

    As it turns out the bold Connor is an excellent GM and we’ve been having a blast with it.

    Hopefully the christmas wizard is gonna bring me Cosmic Encounter and Smallworld ^_^

    I’ve wanted CE for like forever but i never seem to have the cash goin spare when i am in town to get up static. And Smallworld just looks fun.

    If Smallworld is a Scream in Horrorificly bad game, then now would be the time to scream cos i don’t think the wifes been to the shops yet ;P and i was considering asking for Dixit instead based on your review lol (and the bold Tom Vasel lol)

    Keep these columns comin ^_^

  41. Jiki says:

    Really shouldn’t log onto anything when drunk ….

    • Amanda says:

      Doh! XHTML fail. It’s a SoCoChaGa t-shirt link – if someone can edit the markup to close my tags (fnar) I’d appreciate it, oh masters of the commenting system!

    • postmanmanman says:

      Ha, I didn’t think anyone would get the shirt done so fast… looks like Mr. Florence is indebted to you.

  42. geldonyetich says:

    Only socochaga know if Han really shot first.

    Oh wait, that was that other guy. Furry, wears a bandoleer, nobody knows what he’s saying.

  43. pimorte says:

    I was considering getting Ghost Stories, but it’s ~$70 here :(

  44. Jesus says:

    Oh come on Carcassonne is brilliant. Vanilla game is a bit plain, but you should always play with the first 2 expansions, they are essential. Everything after that is optional.

  45. Hybrid says:

    I’d like to try and get the newest Space Hulk, but everyone on eBay goes nuts over any new copy so we’ll see… and the same could be said for Warhammer Quest…

    • Deccan says:

      Why Games Workshop elected to make the new Space Hulk a limited run, I will never know. It was basically a license to print money.
      Maybe they were scared of losing sales of regular 40K Terminators. Sad, sad little beancounters.

  46. Ed Burst says:

    (In the voice of Werner Herzog.)
    It is not an aversion to bad luck that drives the dice from the modern board game. It is an aversion to all luck, good and bad. The fool rolls a dice, needing a twenty to survive, and gets it. He thinks, I am awesome. The wise man rolls the same dice, gets the same twenty, and thinks, Once again madness has triumphed over logical expectation.
    We talk of good luck and bad luck, successes and superstitions, but events created by randomness are the ultimate expression of meaningless futility. Only human agency, human will, can create significance and hold back the inexorable advance of entropy, postponing the moment when chaos overwhelms us all. To give the dice supremacy is to side with thermodynamic chaos over evolution. You might just as well worship the blind idiot god Azathoth, bet your life savings on the spin of a roulette wheel or bet your life on the spin of a revolver cylinder.

    • Quirk says:

      Well said, sir.

      However, there are different types of game. The pure two-player strategy game is not improved for the strategist by the addition of dice. Chess and go are games people devote lives to, and end those lives still discovering novelties; games of staggering depth and elegance. Chess is my poison, the game of zugzwang, the queen sacrifice and the smothered mate. No game featuring dice can be beautiful in the same way.

      There are though sound reasons why other types of game exist. A game of chess between someone who has spent years of their life playing steadily, even after the passage of some years of absence from the board, and someone who has only ever played irregularly is pretty much a foregone conclusion. Occasionally people wish to face that sort of challenge, but too much of it is ego-sapping. And introducing a new game of similar purity rarely helps, for the kind of person who becomes very good at chess is generally well placed to analyse and calculate optimum strategies for the replacement. Diluting pure skill with a little luck however leaves the outcome in doubt, and makes the experience more palatable for the weaker player. It also slows the gain of skill on both sides, for doing the wrong thing is not always punished and doing the right thing is not always rewarded.

      In multiplayer, the balance is further tilted. (I except here team games; duplicate bridge manages over the course of a competition to almost entirely eliminate chance.) If you wish a competitive symmetric multiplayer game to be a game of pure skill, if it isn’t a game with minimal interaction between players, devolving simply into who can solve a puzzle fastest, it is likely to be a game of politics. Politics changes the nature of a game, as when people can band together to take down the frontrunner, mastery of the mechanics matters much less than misdirection, psychology and social influence. And at that point, why not add a random element? It adds variety, and by that point skill with the game mechanics has largely reduced in value anyway. It’s still worth keeping some elements of mechanical skill in there to give players the feeling that any victories they score are down to their intellectual prowess – after all, most of us find it hard to feel good about winning a game of Ludo. And, over time, understanding the game’s tactics more correctly than those you play with may indeed mean you win slightly more often.

      However, anyone who is an exponent of adding the old knucklebones to games willy-nilly should be cautious. If you’ve fallen in love with a flashier version of Ludo because it’s got zombies and pirates, that’s fine, but you can’t have your cake and eat it; either you need to show a little understanding of the position taken by the people who’re annoyed by your game being pretty much trivial strategy and random chance, or you need to stop saying rude things about Ludo. Unless, of course, the rude things you’re saying about Ludo have nothing to do with it being trivial and all to do with it not having enough zombies and pirates. In that case, carry on.

  47. bill says:

    I rather like Carcasonne, but it’s basically the only “real” boardgame I’ve played.
    I played warhammer and rpgs back in the day, and of course i’ve played monopoly, cluedo, etc… but Carcasonne is the only one i’ve played that’s likely to be mentioned here.

    It’s probably a great gateway boardgame. In fact, It’s the sort of thing they should sell in Tesco to attract a wider audience. I wanted to try Catan too, but it needs 4 players, and I wanted a game to play with the girlfriend. So i can’t compare it to that.

    It definitely worked well for it’s intended purpose, and I think it has a good combination of simple mechanics and nicely crafted pieces that makes it good for adults who might not normally be into games.
    I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s a bit simple for serious boardgame aficionados though.

    But after reading the description last sunday of the mechanics of Civilization, it’s clear that that game is WAYYYY too complex for most people. So back to Carcassone it is.

    (unless someone can suggest another game that has simple but good mechanics, nice style and mainstream appeal, and can be played with 2 players. ) (like sex).

    • leeder krenon says:

      You could take a look at Thebes, but it is not as simple as Carcassonne.

    • bill says:

      hmm. Thebes looks interesting.
      I was gonna say no based on the name, assuming it was too similar to Carcassonne in terms of setting and style – but it’s actually totally different.

      I do worry about counter/card/marker overload for a lot of these games though.

  48. MartinNr5 says:

    Would love to tell you what I got but my friends and family read this column as well so I don’t want any spoilers for them.

    Still, I’m pretty sure I would get approval.