Before we begin, I'd like to thank the bold Quinns for covering for me while I was gone. His columns were annoyingly good, and I was actually quite glad to hear of his death this week. He recommended some great games to you, and Tobago too. But now the original God of Games is back, every Saturday, so you can have fun playing “Spot the Typo”.
Where have I been? Well, I've been writing a telly thing for Channel 4, and setting up a production company. That's GROWN-UP STUFF. So excuse me if I didn't have time to write about stupid fucking children's board games on my few days off. Grow up. Who cares about stupid silly board games like fucking Monopoly SO BOOOOORING GROW UP JESUS CHRIST GET A GIRLFRIEND OH MY GOD!
I care about them. I might not have been writing about board games lately, but I've been playing loads of them. “Hunners” of them, as we say in Glasgow. Some absolute belters in the bunch too. I've also officially run out of room in my house for board games, so I'm going to have to start getting rid of the ones I hate. All one of them. All Knizia's Lord of the Rings of them. So, yeah, it's still all going on. And now I'm back.
And I'm back properly this time. I said in the past that I would maybe do a video at some point for RPS, showing you a board game or two. Well, that will definitely happen. I still have that Zombie-themed board game round-up video to get out, so that will probably be first. And then I'll be looking at trying to cover the occasional new release in video form. I'll warn you in advance that the videos will probably be annoyingly “comedic” because everything I do these days has to further my odious policy of careerist self-promotion.
I want to try to get very current with what I cover, so I'll try to source review copies of stuff so that you fine people reading the best games site on the web will be at the FRONT LINE of spending a fortune on new games you don't actually need. Maybe I'll get in cahoots with an online shop or something. Something corrupt like that.
I'm also mulling over the possibility of doing a podcast for the first time in my life. That wouldn't just be about board games, though. It'd be about all that stuff we're into, computer games and films and comics and stuff, and would feature other hardcore Scottish geeks so that as few people as possible can understand it. But that's all just in the planning stages at the moment. Does anyone listen to podcasts? I certainly don't. I dunno. Anyway, I'm back, that's what I'm getting at. Back to my first love – games.
This week, I won't be looking at any board game in particular. There's one AMAZING game I want to talk about next week, but I need to get some more plays in first. All you need to know is that I HAMMERED people at it a few days ago, like a gangsta. Also, some of you might be reading my lazy, swear-word heavy column for the first time and I need to draw you in with something light. I need to start by doing a little round-up of what I've missed since I slipped off the radar.
DIRTY WEE SKAVEN BASTARDS
Fantasy Flight improved on perfection last month, releasing an expansion for the amazing Chaos in the Old World that lets a fifth player play as The Horned Rat, the god worshipped by those filthy creatures the Skaven and Kieron Gillen.
I've blabbed on about Chaos in the Old World at length many a time before. I even did a 15 minute long erotic video about it. I'm sick of listening to myself talk about it, to be honest. It's a fantastic game, probably the best design of the past 10 years. So, I was a wee bit worried about the expansion. Getting a board game so right is a tough thing to pull off, and you always have the feeling that any tinkering might screw the whole thing up.
There was no need to worry. The fifth God slips in without any fuss, and has his own unique path to victory. He even has that “Oh, I hate this God, he's shit.”/”Oh, right, I get it! He's amazing!” thing that all the other Gods have – kind of like an opposite version of what happens with the Gods we have on Earth. The new power cards in the pack are arguably better than the ones that come with the base game, and somehow a game that felt complete feels even more complete. I know that makes no sense. I know it. Just trust me.
Buy this game if you haven't yet. If you're gooble gobble one of us, and you have four mates who are also gooble gobble one of us, then you need to gooble get it. It's a masterpiece. Give it a gobble.
WIZARDS OF THE COAST GO H.A.M.
Yeah, do you remember I covered Castle Ravenloft on here? Well, since then, Wizards of the Coast has been pushing on HARD into board games. They released Wrath of Ashardalon, another game using Ravenloft's mechanics, and recently Conquest of Nerath.
Conquest of Nerath (I haven't played it) looks like a re-themed Axis & Allies a wee bit, set in the world of Dungeons & Dragons. There's loads of wee men (plastic figures, if you like, SIGH) in the box, and a big map, and assorted bits of cardboard. It looks like the kind of thing that would have come out in the 80s. It's exciting that these things are being released – I can't imagine we'll be waiting too long before some kind of miniature-heavy fantasy board game hits the conventional toy shops. Like a new HeroQuest or something. I want to walk into Toys R Us and see something like that on the shelves. That's how we get the young 'uns into board games. Start them early on some dungeon crawling action. “I chop your head off, dad, and eat your entrails!”
We should do a video on that old stuff sometime, huh? In a retro style? That'd be sweet.
Oh, before I move on – there's yet another game coming from Wizards that is based on that Ravenloft design – it's called Legend of Drizzt. It's a great, strong design but HEY GUYS THREE IS MAYBE ENOUGH. Oh God, my wallet...
Which brings me to...
You know Battleship, right? The boat-sinking game? Shite, isn't it?
Yes, it is. It's a horrible game, a game of “DID I HIT YOU?” “NO MATE YOU DIDN'T LOL” “DID I HIT YOU THAT TIME MATE?” “YEAH MATE LOL WHAT TIME IS IT?” that only the worst kind of father would play with his child. A sexist pig father, like the one on the cover of Battleship.
Well, things are about to change, I think. Because “Battleship Galaxies: The Saturn Offensive” is coming. Just look again at the name of that game. BATTLESHIP GALAXIES: THE SATURN OFFENSIVE. That's a fucking cracker of a game, right there. You can tell just by the name. That's the kind of name you'd have given a game when you were 12 years old.
“Battleship Galaxies? Oh cool. What offensive is it based around?”
“The Saturn Offensive, mate.”
“Oh great, that's my favourite offensive, bud.”
Even more excitingly, Colby Dauch is one of the designers. This guy knows how to make a fun game, having been involved with the Heroscape community for years before busting out his own brilliant design Summoner Wars.
You've got plastic ships, a space field map with hexes on it, and no sexist dads anywhere to be seen. Take a look at the page on boardgamegeek.
Looks amazing, right? Finally they've realised what they had to do to create a great Battleship game. Make a game that isn't anything like Battleship. I hope “CLUEDO: THE MARS CAMPAIGN” is next.
This beauty is coming soon. I'll cover it.
MY GAME DESIGNS
I'm going to start keeping you updated on my game designs as progress is made. Not every week, just when there's stuff to say. Then you can all laugh and point if I ever release any and they stink.
KILLER: Recently I've put together a prototype of a game that has the working title “KILLER”. It works. It's a game. But it's absolutely terrible. The theme doesn't come over at all, and it quickly slides into a monotonous card-management grind. I felt like shoving it up my own arse the other night. The beauty of game designing is that there's no hiding from mediocrity. You can feel it. You KNOW it's bad. Ugh. I think I can fix it. I hope so. Fucking idiot.
PW BATTLEGAME: My favourite idea is this one. It's a battle game of sorts, with each player having three units on the table at any one time. There's a nice little gimmick to the units, though, and I love the idea so much I'm desperate to get a prototype up and running. First, though, I need to nail down that very simple, clean, battle system. Nothing fancy. Just something accessible, that lets people play. I'd call this my “comedy” game. It's funny, and weirdly romantic. Desperate to get it working.
SUPPLY & DIE: My third design is the one that's been hanging around the longest. It's a post-apocalyptic trading game. Everyone is dying and you're trying to get enough supplies to keep your people hanging around a bit longer than everyone else. It's a downer, to be honest, but a funny downer with a horrible backstabbing mechanic that should make people laugh. I wanted to design at least one game in my lifetime that has people swinging punches at each other at the table. Supply & Die is it. You supply. Then you die.
OKAY, THAT'S PLENTY
That's plenty for my “That's me back!” column. You can find me here every Saturday from now on, talking about all this kind of thing. Next week I'll be focusing on one particular STORMER, and telling you about my battles in Westeros in Battles of Westeros. Battles of Westeros is set in the world of HBO's Game of Thrones, so it's handy to play it with someone who has their lovely tits out, to get the right feel across.
And let's get the chat going – what have YOU been playing? And what games would you like to watch a video about?
Later, my friends! Glad to be home!
- Robert Florence, God of Games