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52

Cardboard Children: A List

flick your ships

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2. Hello youse.
3. It strikes me that we haven’t done a LIST PIECE in a while, and that’s a little bit crazy. After all, everyone loves lists. Many of the most popular written pieces on the internet are purely lists. And nothing encourages debate more than a good list.
4. “Hey, did you see that list?” “I can’t believe what was number one on that list!” “That list is ridiculous! I am so outraged by the order of listed items on that list!”
5. That kind of thing.

6. I played Spartacus again last night. In the very first turn, I told someone that I would spare their gladiator if they gave me some gold. They gave me gold. I turned my thumb down and killed the gladiator. The lie set in motion one of the ugliest sessions of board gaming ever. At one point, someone had to leave the room to calm down. It was fantastic.
7. I’m not sure what the situation is with Ascending Empires, but someone said to me it looks like a reprint is unlikely. I think it is one of the very best board games ever made, and it’d be terrible if the production quibbles have caused it to slip away. The game is a space empire builder where you flick your ships across the board to travel. And yes, the board isn’t perfect. But what an incredible game. Pick it up if you see it anywhere.
8. I still can’t believe they stopped making Heroscape.
9. Some people think that the only board games that exist are the ones you see in the toy section in Asda or Tesco. That’s pretty fascinating. That’s like people assuming that the only books that exist are the ones in the best-sellers rack at the supermarket. Jesus, imagine that were true!
10. Two positions later and I still can’t believe they stopped making Heroscape.
11. Gamer hygiene is still pretty bad. If you spend an hour in a board game shop, it’s likely some smelly guy will come in at some point. I’m basing this on my own observations, so please don’t get angry. It’s a fact. I observed it, like science. And I think to myself “Why is this?”
12. Why is that?
13. Why do you smell so bad?
14. No, but seriously. You’ll be standing looking at the City of Thieves box for the hundredth time. (You kinda fancy it, but it might just be because it has the same name as the best Fighting Fantasy book.) You’ll be happy in your own little world. And then you’ll hear the door open. And you think to yourself “Don’t be a smelly guy.” And that’s when the warm wave of sour air hits you. And you think to yourself “Why is this?”
15. Why is that?
16. It’s the main reason why I work so hard to increase the popularity of board gaming. I want more people to come into my local game shop who ACTUALLY SHOWER.
17. I feel bad banging on about this. But, fuck, somebody has to say it. Oh, and if any of you suggest that no smelly guy comes into YOUR local games shop, then I’m sorry – you’re the smelly guy.
18. Games Workshop is so expensive you can spend an hour inside the shop and never hear a working-class voice.
19. “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy planning a session of Twilight Imperium III” – John Lennon
20. I have the old Games Workshop Doctor Who board game. The one with Tom Baker on the front. I haven’t played it because it might be shit, and I don’t want it to be shit. Is it shit?
21. It’s probably shit.
22. Those old Games Workshop games are great. The Rogue Trooper board game is under-rated. A nice light, long adventure game, very old-fashioned, with some neat little twists. Dying players becoming bio-chips? Cool.
23. Some of you would hate it.
24. Lately I’ve been thinking about the best board/card games you could play on a weekly basis, keeping track of the results. Know what I mean? One game that you get the same group together to play every week, and keep track of who’s won and lost. Here are some that I would love to make that happen with:
25. Blood Bowl
26. Formula D
27. Netrunner
28. Starcraft
29. Whoah, Starcraft. I don’t think I’ve ever covered the Starcraft board game. And I probably never will – it’s out of print and won’t be coming back. It’s starting to sell for silly money on eBay. Man – it’s an incredible board game. One of Fantasy Flight’s very best. A monster of a thing – I needed to use two tables to play it. But it’s so good. Meaty and action-packed and smart. Have you played it?
30. I hope you’ve played it. It’s better than Starcraft II on the PC.
31. By a mile.
32. I know a lot of you have played the Game of Thrones board game. And I know that a lot of you like it. And so it’s probably safe to say that you might be ready to move onto Warrior Knights.
33. I still haven’t got Kemet.
34. I wonder if my own board game design – “Supply & Die” – will ever see the light of day. It’s a diplomacy and negotiation game set in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, with a weird mechanic that will see a lot of players get punched and hauled over tables in anger. I started putting down ideas for it when gaming was trending towards BIG and HEAVY games. But now things have changed, thankfully, and I’m stripping stuff out of the design to make it lighter and cleaner. There are robots in it. And deadly parasites.
35. My dream is to design a Romance of the Three Kingdoms board game. What’s YOUR dream design?
36. You’ll all be going on holiday soon. “Vacation”, if you’re American. Here’s a list of great small-footprint games you could take on holiday or vacation with you:
37. Blood Bowl: Team Manager
38. The Awful Green Things From Outer Space
39. Yomi
40. Hive
41. Hey, That’s My Fish!
42. Incan Gold
43. Botswana
44. Hey, Botswana is great. My 6-year-old daughter loves it, and so do I. It’s a Knizia game, very simple, and you can teach it in 30 seconds. It comes with a deck of cards and a pile of painted plastic animals. Each card shows an animal type and a numerical value. You play a card, then take any animal. Each card you play changes the previous value of an animal type. It’s all about timing, trying to maximise the value of the animals you own, while minimising the value of your opponents’ animals. A nice level of tension for such a short, simple game. Highly recommended. Check it out.
45. Man, I just recommended a Knizia game.
46. IDEA: Kat Von D, the board game. Seriously. A set collection game. Each player’s player board is her bare back, and you need to collect a set of her tattoos. That’s what we need in board gaming. Some cooler settings, themes. Where’s my hip-hop themed game where you run a gangsta rap label in 90s LA?
47. Number 47 and I still can’t believe they stopped making Heroscape.
48. Och, that’s plenty.
49. Forty nine.
50. Fifty.
51. It’s been good to see that board gaming is becoming more popular. It’s been great to see the coverage expanding and stuff. But it still feels like there’s something missing. We now have a lot of like-minded people playing. That’s good. People who we thought would be open to trying these games, they’re all starting to try them. Mm-hm.
52. Now we need to get the rest on board.
53. Because
54. Because we need more nice-smelling people in the shop.
55. Know what I mean?
56. Someone has to say it.
57. Sigh.

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Robert Florence

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