Cardboard Children: A List

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.


  1. luukdeman111 says:

    Banner image as number 1????
    Sigh… Rps isnt what it used to be….

    • Chalky says:

      God damn it RPS why do you always post about lists and not about video games any more I am cancelling my subscription and writing an angry letter.

      • Dozer says:

        Absolutely. I thought I was on until I got to the bottom of the article and didn’t find links to three unrelated list articles.

    • Gap Gen says:

      This ship does indeed seem to be listing to cardboard.

    • pauleyc says:

      Well, I’m ok with the banner being #1 but severely disappointed that there’s no alt text. Alt text should always be #2.

      To make this post at least marginally relevant, my resolve not to buy the X-Wing miniatures game is finally crumbling. My other half is expressing a growing interest in trading card games and I want to switch said interest to something more appealing and three-dimensional (these miniatures look sooo sexy) – albeit slightly less portable than two decks of cards.

      • SanguineAngel says:

        If it helps, I have been playing X-Wing miniatures and it ludicrously fun. However, the price of extra miniatures is quite high – £12 for each fighter and £25 for slave 1 of the Millennium Falcon. you could easily spend a fortune on this game

    • RaveTurned says:

      At least there wasn’t a pull quote #47.

    • jemkem05 says:

      If you think Patrick`s story is impressive…, five weaks-ago my son in law earnt $8989 workin 40 hours a month from their apartment and the’re neighbor’s mom`s neighbour done this for 3 months and made more than $8989 parttime on there pc. apply the guidelines on this site
      (Go to site and open “Home” for details)

  2. JackShandy says:

    Hey RPS, I made a card game! It’s about having a threesome with a secret vampire.

    • cwoac says:

      Now that is a ridiculous idea, and some lovely theme work.

      One thing I’m not sure on – why the rule about two players playing the same card in the same place cancelling out?

      • JackShandy says:

        It lets you block cards, at a risk.

        “He’s going to break down my barrier with a lips card, so I’ll play lips to block him!” Then he doesn’t play lips, and you’ve just broken your own barrier down.

        Secondary effects:
        -You can PRETEND the above situation happened, but secretly you actually did want to break down the barrier.
        – If you want to co-operate with someone – you both want to break down the barrier between you – you’ll have to somehow communicate with them. If you both try to break at the same time, the barrier won’t break and you’ll have wasted your cards. How do you tell your buddy what card you’re going to play, without letting the vampire know?
        -It lets you discard hand and lips cards without using their effects – means you’re not at the mercy of the deck if you’re clever about reading your opponents.

  3. JToTheDog says:

    I am a list-maker and I approve of this list.

  4. President Weasel says:

    58. Stay
    59. Dicey

  5. Screen Blind says:

    My DREAM Design? The holy grail of board/card gaming of course! I want to design the ultimate Pirate Game. (and it’s in progress! It will happen! You heard it here first ;)

    • TheGoddamn says:

      If Rab’s dream design is a Romance of the Three Kingdoms board game, mine is a Dynasty Warriors one. It’ll require hundreds and hundreds of figures though. Might get messy.

      • Tams80 says:

        I’d play a Dynasty Warriors game! Packing it up would be real chore though and you’d be stepping on figurines for the next week (not a pleasant experience first thing in the morning!).

    • Lanfranc says:

      My dream game at the moment is about a Renaissance Papal election. Each player controls a faction with a number of cardinals and must try to get one of them elected using money, influence and/or poison. Add pressure and intrigues from the European great powers, unexpected Spanish Inquisitions, and random events like the Roman mob plundering cardinals’ mansions.

    • luckyb0y says:

      Merchants and Marauders. You can thank me later.

      • wice says:

        M&M is awesome, but it has the same problem that every adventure game a bit more complex than Talisman has: the downtime is killer (when someone takes port actions, or fights an NPC or other player). Playing it solo or two-player is okay, but that takes away a lot from the direct player-vs-player conflicts, and with four it seriously drags. Had the designer address this somehow, it would be the perfect pirate game (and maybe adventure game in general) hands down.

    • Tacroy says:

      Oh man I just came in to ask if Rab had played the Star Wars X-Wing Minis game (because someone bought it at work and it is awesome – I finally got around to looking through the archives and he did) and your post made me realize that you could totes re-theme the those mechanics for piratical combat on the open seas.

      Ships would have different guns on port and starboard and fore, you could load different ammo to do different types of damage (hull, crew and sails) which would affect your ship’s manuverability in different ways… it could be the best pirate themed thing you ever play on a table.

  6. belgand says:

    Seriously, what is with the smelly people in this community? We even have them over here in the States so it clearly isn’t just a British problem. In fact at any public board game night or such you’re more or less guaranteed to have at least one very smelly person. The worst being a game of Call of Cthulhu I played with a GM who clearly had a rotted tooth. All brown and terrifying. And this was a person who I was sitting directly next to and kept speaking to me forcing me to deal with the horrible smell. He also hadn’t seemingly bathed in rather a long while.

    The worst thing about this being a board/role-playing game problem is that these are games that need to be played in person. I could care less about the hygiene of most video gamers as I’m unlikely to meet them (and I haven’t met nearly as many smelly ones at shops), but for the games where physical interaction is necessary people frequently lack even the basic wherewithal to cleanse themselves on a daily basis. The mind boggles.

    • Didden says:

      Hmmm I once had to sit next to a man on a plane who had the worst… and I mean worst, halitosis I have ever smelt. It wasn’t to bad until he started to talk to me. Oh god.

      It was a transatlantic flight and he was off on his way to meet some woman he’d met on the internet. Boy was she in for a surprise.

      After the plane took off there were some spare seats, and I moved. FREEDOM!

    • Grargh says:

      Call of Cthulhu
      rotted tooth … terrifying … forcing me … horrible … mind boggles

      How could he have provided a more fitting atmosphere, short of tearing apart your very soul with unutterable phrases from forgotten aeons?

    • Tiax says:

      Don’t ask me, I once decided to meet with boardgames players in my area using a local forum.

      The first guy I met was like the most nerdy there was. I seriously feel guilty, but the guy was short, bald (those he couldn’t do much about) AND smelled like crazy (this he could definitely have done something about). I spent an afternoon playing Starcraft (the boardgame, which I just purchased again thanks to you Rob) with him and it wasn’t a pleasant experience.

      Actually, he won. Maybe smelling if part of some metagame I’m too casual to know about, but if your opponent is too busy trying to find a way to breathe that won’t make him gag, I’d say you’re having quite the advantage on the game…

    • OpT1mUs says:

      Lol ‘ We even have them”, it’s like fat smelly american nerd is the biggest nerd stereotype of them all, I’m fairly sure you even have them…

    • Tukuturi says:

      Maybe he didn’t have access to dental care.

  7. spectone says:

    I don’t have a dream game idea. I only have some vague ideas.

    a) Some sort of pirate treasure game where you have to move over the board to try and dig up treasures.

    b) A about a reactor that is going to explode, the players cooperatively control robots and have to help each other fix the problem. It involves collecting items on the board that the other players cannot reach and passing it to them so they can fix the reactor.

    Of course ideas are useless without an implementation, I don’t think I’ll ever do it.

    • Pizzajongen says:

      Idea b)
      imagine if the players are all responsible for the reactor meltdown, they need to work together to fix it so they don’t die. But simultaneously they need to screw eachother over to win back the boss’ trust as to not lose their jobs at the end of the game.

      Reactor explodes: all players lose.
      Reactor gets fixed: player with most trust wins.

    • Jharakn says:

      #2 see space alert

  8. Deeon says:

    Last week I got myself Runewars (Revised Edition), all I can say is: HOLY CRAP MOTHER OF DICE, that’s one epic game. Love it! Can’t wait to play it this weekend \o/

  9. Radiant says:

    50 ways to be a curmudgeon.

    • Radiant says:

      I tried to get into boardgames but the problems is always inside my head.
      She said to me, the answer is easy I just need to be a bit logical about it.

      • Radiant says:

        She really wanted to help but what did she know?
        Intrusive cow.

  10. Skabooga says:

    More lists need stream-of-consciousness.

  11. Xyvik says:

    It was a hideously sad day when Heroscape stopped production. Still have my collection and it brings a tear almost every time I see it.

  12. Duke of Chutney says:

    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 really hope it does see a reprint, but Z-man seems to rarely reprint games, even the very popular ones (Pandemic) take years to get another run. I traded off my copy of AE …. for Tigris and Euphrates. What an error, possibly the greatest error a boardgamer could make.

    24. Lately I’ve been thinking about the best board/card games you could play on a weekly basis,

    – I’ve considered doing this with Ares Project but not got round to it. I have a recorded list of escapees written on the inside of my DungeonQuest box, with the date and amount of loot they got.

    35. My dream is to design a Romance of the Three Kingdoms board game. What’s YOUR dream design?

    – THIS! i’ve been considering this very idea for a while. I read the first third of the book and i’ve seen a few films on it. One with Donny Yen and one half of John Woos redcliff. Which is both awesome and rediculous as it has to have a guy fighting a million dudes with a baby in his hands due to being John Woo.

    I figured it would have to be a Dudes on a Map game, but a strong character element, because the Romance of the Three Kingdoms is all about the heros. Specifically Cuo Cuo and Lui Bei would need a mechanic where they could fight for control over specific heros who might be lured into changing sides. You’d also need a neat battle mechanic that brought out the flowery strategies they use in the battles and some political stuff.
    The other game i’d like to see, and i’ve also made some notes for is a decent Cold War spies card game. It would have to have moles and intelligence and counterintelligence stings etc and probably end up being a bit like Net Runner.

    45. Man, I just recommended a Knizia game.

    – yes you did!?

  13. phlebas says:

    20. Me too. Has anyone actually played it?

  14. KDR_11k says:

    AI War would make a nice board game I think.

  15. Kefren says:

    Last time I posted I mentioned Games Workshop games, and here I see two that I own. Rogue Trooper is fun, and it’s nice that it can be co-op or backstabbing. Fun with plasma grenades for all the family. Sci-fi crossed with Cluedo.

    Warrior Knights is fantastic. Bidding for Lombards. Debating whether to send a knight abroad on a spice mission – lots of gold, but very vulnerable until he returns. Attack a castle, or just besiege it and wait it out. Fight to control the royal pretender.

    Coup or For Sale are nice portable games to take away.

    Kings & Things – no love for that yet in this column. The bluffing element, random board, and massed battles make it a classic.

    • SimulatedMan says:

      Anybody care to elaborate some more on Warrior Knights? AGoT is a favorite but I thought WK might be a bit too “more of the same”. Are they dissimilar enough to warrant owning both? And how important is having the WK expansion?

      • Kefren says:

        I play the old Games Workshop version so can’t speak for the modern one (which I assume the expansion refers to) I’m afraid. Try BoardgameGeek?

  16. Heimmrich says:

    link to

    A hip-hop themed game, you say?

  17. Skyhigh says:

    “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:”

    A list within a list, that is Fanlistic, I meant Listastic!

  18. Sp4rkR4t says:

    Is this what journalistic aneurysms look like?

  19. Ubik2000 says:

    So who else is having a ROUGH MONTH when it comes to games on Kickstarter? What have I backed in the last few weeks? Let me count the ways:

    Coup – a card game by the Resistance people. Backed it more or less sight-unseen, but it was only $15.
    Robotech RPG Tactics – Largely nostalgia fueled, obviously, but the amount of miniatures you get has passed the ‘absurd’ point, and there is still a week to go. Still, $140, and that’s without the MAC II Monster I don’t want to buy but probably will.
    Myth – this was a last minute call for me. I hadn’t really followed it all the way through, but the base package was so gigantic by the end…it was an impulse. Hopefully it’s good.
    Dwarven Forge – this one is HARD TO JUSTIFY. I spent an EMBARRASSING amount of money. And I already have a bunch of dungeon tiles I made myself a few years ago using Hirst Arts molds (look, I was getting over a breakup, ok?). They are beautiful. Ask me how often I use THEM.
    Tablescapes – these are going to be awesome if I ever get around to playing 40K. So yeah, good thing I bought in. Because I’m totally going to play 40K at some point. Yep.
    Zombicide Season 2 – this was over a month ago, but jesus, there is seriously something wrong with me you guys.

    Currently eyeing up Deadzone. DAT SCENERY.

  20. thesleeper7 says:

    Sigh..GW, FFG..dice, awesome minis, is that all you play?
    Why don’t you do an article about a well-thought, well-designed, deep eurogame?

    I wanna hear you guys praising the way the mechanics blend seemingly in Yedo, the way dice are brilliantly used in Castles of Burgundy, the tight worker placement in Caylus, the sheer awesomeness of Dungeon Petz, the innovative card game that is Innovation.

    Leave the shallow, over-bloated mess of a game that FFG usually churns out just for one “going cardboard”

    • blunder1983 says:

      I like these articles,

      Castles of Burgundy is one of the few games I’d avoid even if the choice was between it and sitting quietly watching paint dry. Its about as fun! :D Mechanics are all well and good but with out any theme to engage the players why play them? Just for the pleasure of proving yourself cleverer? I love that the focus is on the great stories and interaction between players that these games generate.

  21. gav082 says:

    Number 46? Oh God yes, I would buy that day 1!