Thursday, July 20, 2006

Bored Games- Far from it!

We had a good couple of goes at train based board game 'Ticket to Ride' yesterday.

In it you attempt to build rail networks across America using little plastic trains, a selection of variously coloured cards and low cunning. It's a mixture of misdirection, card collection, tactical planning and remembering to look at your destination cards. (Other wise you link up the wrong cities...In our case El Paso and Winnepeg)

There's a bit of number scoring mathmatics to do, plus you develop a strange obession with whos got the longest trainline, but dispite that, it's still a very jolly game. Plus you learn where lots of cities are in the USA/Canada (Deluth- who knew?) You also end up making train noises (say "who's a cheeky chuffer chuffer?" three times and you'll see what we mean) cackling as you thwart each other and pretending to be the fat controller

In short, the roleplay type elements make it good fun.

Likewise with our other favourite game at the moment- 'Shadows over Camelot' Another great use of an evening, this game involves everyone playing Knights of the Round Table who are busy defending Camelot from Saxons, Picts, seige engines, the black knight, dragons and so on whilst also questing for the Grail, Excaliber or Lancelot's armour. It's a bit unusual in that rather than all competing against each other, you band together against the game. It's very doom laden, in that you're constantly fighting a loosing battle against your enemies. It can get very messy very quickly. Again you use plastic figures (such as Sir Kay of the Flat Face) and collect suites of cards to complete quests, fight or do special actions.

It could get a little number crunchy after a couple of games, were it not for the one rule that makes this game fabulous. You are forbidden from using game terms- in fact, you must roleplay everything you say to other players. You might want to tell someone to bid a 5 against the Saxons, but you have to find a way to tell them this in character ("Ride out against their strongest flank, and I shall take the center!")

A fantastic use of roleplay to illuminate a set of game mechanics and really make a fun experience.

And of course, a great excuse to drink beer in Bugmans in the name of 'research'...


Anonymous panzer-attack said...

Shadows Over Camelot is a great game! You've probably already heard of it, but if you're interested in board games you can't go far wrong than checking out a little site called

4:26 pm  

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